Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Notes from the "Demand Generation in the Digital Age" Virtual Trade Show

Earlier today, BtoB Magazine hosted a virtual trade show on "Leading Edge: Demand Generation in the Digital Age". The event featured numerous speakers and a well-organized virtual trade show environment powered by ON24. A big shoutout to both teams for putting on a great event and to all the speakers for delivering attention-grabbing presentations (and great content for my live tweets and this blog)!

Here a few takeaways from my live tweets. You may have heard them before but in the spirit of practice makes perfect, here you go again...

In his opening keynote, Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice) introduced the "Flipping the Funnel" concept to the audience which advocates that BtoB companies need to get to the point that most of their revenue comes from their existing customers. He suggests 4 pillars for flipping the funnel:
1. Acknowledgment
2. Dialog
3. Incentivisation
4. Activation

You'll know you have flipped the funnel when:
1. Retention becomes the new acquisition - proactive, dynamic, becomes a point of differentiation.
2. Customer service becomes THE key differentiator. WOM can become your best friend or worst nightmare.
3. The real role of social media is retention.

He suggests that in this state cost per referral should be the new benchmark and companies should shift their dollars toward retention rather than acquisition. It's not to say that they should not acquire new customers. The idea is to allocate more money for retention from your overall marketing budget.

Bulldog Solutions (@BDSolutions) and Compass Learning (@CompassLearning) partnered up on the delivery of a case study showing how the Executive Benchmark Assessment works in action. Check it out at eba.bulldogsolutions.com. Everything CompassLearning does feeds the assessment tool to help enable closed-loop lead nurturing. They created a plan that helps move qualified leads through the funnel. This plan focuses on strategic planning, engagement of prospects and conversion.

I want to highlight 2 components of this plan:
1. Viral personas. The speaker encouraged attendees to put in time to build viral personas to understand customers, consider creating at least 1 high-value action for customers and automate marketing whenever possible.
2. Content Center. The goal of this Content Center is to help improve engagement, target prospects based on their personas, reinforce thought leadership and syndicate content.

Lead nurturing should be viewed as an on-going dialog and companies need to think holistically about it [Couldn't agree more!]. Visit bulldogsolutions.com for more detailed info.

Steve Woods (@stevewoods) of Eloqua shared his thoughts on moving beyond demand generation and into revenue acceleration, and examined the changing role of marketing in support of sales. He views marketing as the facilitator in the buying process and as such, it needs to aim at providing insight to sales into the buyer's digital body language. How can marketing help do this? By:
1. Looking at individual prospects and using their digital body language to guide the conversation.
2. Understanding who the key influencers are within the buying team and connecting the field with that knowledge.
3. Providing visibility into your territory based on the lead scoring dashboard, and watching for and faciliating buying interest.

In essence, marketing's role is to prevent leaks from the funnel and successfully help move buyers through it by increasing awareness, being found and by being selected.

Check out Steve's blog at http://digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com

Charlene Li (@charleneli) closed the event with her views on open leadership. I can only echo her sentiment about the realities of new marketing:
1. It's not messages but conversations.
2. It's not corporate but human.
3. It's not episodic but continuous.

In her virtual tour of the engagement pyramid (1. Watching, 2. Sharing, 3. Commenting, 4. Producing, 5. Curating), she suggested that marketers focus on the bottom part of the pyramid where they can get the first level of engagement and use it to build their foundation.

In an open strategy, learning is fundamental. From there you can Dialog, Support and Innovate.

What are the steps to becoming open?
1. Align openness with overall strategic goals.
2. Reassess the meaning of value. We tend to overvalue things we can measure, and undervalue things we can't.
3. Find and develop your open leaders.
4. Prepare your organization.
5. Be ready to embrace failure. [Note: Music to my ears! Companies need to be ok with failing. It's a learning process, failure is part of the experience.]

What it comes down to is that companies should focus on their relationships and not the technologies. Their strategy should be about the relationships they want to form.

What are your thoughts?

Note: I missed a few presenters so please feel free to embellish this list.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Favorite Tidbits from the Ragan-Cisco Social Media Summit

Last week's Social Media Summit featured a variety of interesting speakers and topics. I wish I could have attended each presentation! While it was hard to pick only a few quotes, here are my favorite top 1-2 tidbits from the presenters I had the opportunity to see live.

Pete Codella (@codella), Codella Marketing
Reminder: a list of all web 2.0 tools: www.go2web20.net.

If you have a Facebook fan page, you need to come up with ways to treat them differently so they stay engaged (e.g, different discounts).

Jeanette Gibson (@JeanetteG), Cisco
Cisco & video. THEN: video blogs, video data sheets, web video.
NOW: Cisco is using video for meaningful engagement: Public Q&A using a combination of video, Twitter and blog.

Instead of a 30-page white paper, consider 10 or so blog posts. Have employees use Flip to save money on video production.

Reverse mentoring at Cisco means that Gen Yers show execs how to use social media.

Yann Gourvennec (@ygourven), Orange Business Services
3 pillars of social media for businesses: communicate, collaborate, cooperate. It all starts internally.

9 tips from Orange for implementing social media: http://bit.ly/9uN8ak.

Orange didn't use YouTube due to progressive download. They use Streamlike which is not seen by firewalls, does the same as YouTube.

Len Devanna (@LenDevanna), EMC
Etiquette in social is key and must be learned because your reach is bigger than you think it is.

Forcing behaviors won't work. Educate, enable and scale. TRUST is an inherent part of the equation. Don't be overly prescriptive in policy or concept. Leverage the power of the masses.

David B. Thomas (@DavidBThomas), SAS
How to build your strategy? 1/define success. Social media is not a strategy, it's a set of tools. Decide what success looks like. 2/Map social media to goals 3/Give ur people the tools (for monitoring; best practices sharing, analytics) 4/use what you have: repurpose content for multiple platforms, create editorial calendar. Use your blog analytics to understand what's bringing people to your site and focus there.

To build awareness, you'll need to find the right people. Involve practicioners & rulemakers, skeptics & evangelists. (SAS created mktg 2.0 council)

Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki), Garage Technology Ventures
Discussed in detail how he uses social media with special focus on Twitter. Here are some ideas on specific business goals social media can help you achieve: 1/selling (Dell, kogibbq) 2/informing (Canadian border control informs about wait times) 3/support (Comcast) 4/sales prospecting (advanced search).

Tools, tips and tricks from @GuyKawasaki for online marketing: http://bit.ly/99OHLQ

Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), Altimeter Group
In order to do social CRM, you have to do 5M's: monitoring, mapping, management, middleware, measurement.

To get started in social CRM: inventory current social assets, create new fields in current CRM system, populate fields manually, train employees

If you want to be relevant and trusted, you have to allow customers to have real conversations on your site. Your site will have customer voices on it whether you allow it or not due to SideWiki.

A team of 4 panelists shared their views on the battle between PR and marketing and who really owns social media:

Ken Kaplan (@kenekaplan), Intel
Listen, smile, join, participate, ask questions and don't be afraid to give advice. Customers want to talk to someone who can help them, doesn't matter what group they are in: Social Media, PR, etc.

Alex Teplitxky pointed out that you can't control conversation but you can help drive it. Be yourself. He added that social media should be a very open and conscious experience from the get-go regardless if people are in marketing, PR or customer service.

Autumn Truong (@autumntt), Cisco said follow through is key: if you start pursuing a lead, you need to stay on top of what happens regardless of where you are in the organization.

LaSandra Brill (@LaSandraBrill), Cisco shared a similar viewpoint. Later, she spent a few minutes talking about social media education at Cisco and revealed that Cisco's education and certificate programs help tremendously increase the company's knowledge base.

Robert Duffy (@bobduffy), Intel continued the event with "The P. Diddy method for community manager success"
Community managers should be like P. Diddy: 1/Build a posse (leverage influencers), throw great parties (plan engaging community activities), go on road trips (extend to events & other forums).

As a brand participating in forums and communities, go in with attitude of being humble & helpful from.

Carlos Dominguez (@carlosdominguez), Cisco closed the Summit with the conclusion that they hype is real and social media is here to stay

When starting social media, go underground and limit sharing in the early stages to avoid red tape.

Understand your company culture, then develop your social media strategy.

@carlosdominguez shared with the audience that the life span of a Fortune 500 company is 40 years. If you want to increase your company's life span, you'll need to 1/be sensitive to the environment (adopt to change), 2/have a strong sense of identity, 3/decentralize and 4/be financially conservative. So...embrace change, experiment, learn, leverage.

And if I could have one wish for next time, it would be fantastic if the presenters' Twitter IDs could be listed in the program and on the big screen in the conference room. It would just make live tweeting so much easier.

What tidbits captured your attention at the event and why?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Friendly Union: Adding Social Media to Your Events

I've been getting quite a few questions on how to leverage social media for events and shows. Here are some general tips to help you get started. This list is not exhaustive so if you want to add more ideas, go for it.

The definition of an event in this case will be an event or trade show that you're organizing or you're participating in.

Before your event:
1. Tweet about your upcoming event using the appropriate hashtags (e.g., your hashtag, event hashtag and/or industy- or topic-related hashtags). Possible topics could include speakers, teaser topics, questions you'll answer in your presentation, excerpts from presentation(s), attendance/booth info if you're attending, on-site meeting opportunities, etc. Make sure your participants know you're on Twitter.
2. Consider creating a video prior to your event and upload it to the various video syndication sites. Prior to the event, your call to action (CTA) can point people to your event (or participation in a given event). After the event, the CTA can be easily removed if needed and the video can be reposted if the content is still relevant. For example, if you're participating in a consumer-focused trade show or event, your video content should focus on how you can help the consumer segment and invite viewers to come to your show or event to learn more.
3. If you have a Facebook fan page or LinkedIn profile, post an invitation there too. In addition, you can create an event on Facebook and LinkedIn to which you can invite your contacts, groups you belong to, etc. You can even create groups around your event.
4. In some cases, you might find it useful to seed some teaser questions and get some speculations/discussions going before your event to pique interest. Or, you may choose to do a Twitter chat on a related topic in preparation for your event. Any type of engagement prior to an event can help.
5. Integrate all these communications channels. Blog and tweet about your video, tweet about your blog, etc. Include your social media accounts in your email campaign. Add social media links on your website and/or event website. Use all available channels to get the word out.
6. Offer channel-specific exclusive (Facebook, Twitter) content or perks prior to event (e.g, free passes for doing X).
7. Seek out and personally invite select groups and/or individuals via social media to your event. Based on the agenda, find speakers on Twitter prior to event and connect with them.

During your event:
1. Live tweet or blog updates from your event, including speakers, key takeaways, coming up next, results from a poll (if you have one), etc. Be sure to use your hashtag.
2. If available to you, display tweets about your event on the big screen in the main presentation hall. Or, pull live tweets into your event or webcast page. (Virtual tweets are a good way to remind and encourage other participants to tweet about your event.)
3. Take video footage of your event and participants, ask them for quotes. These quotes can be tweeted to your followers. If available to you, also consider doing (video) blog interviews you can post online during the event. Interview presenters as well as speakers. If available to you, use a Flip camera to enable quick turnaround times in editing and uploading to video sharing sites and almost real-time online promotion.
4. Update your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. status. If you're a location-based platform user, you might want to check in there too.
5. Consider running "parallel virtual sessions" on a social networking platform of your choice. The idea is to pose and discuss a question online at the same time it's covered and/or include your online audience in the web version of the same polls you're running at the live event.
6. Monitor the activity on your social networking sites during the event and respond/engage as appropriate.
7. If you're running a virtual event, consider using Twitter to gather live questions which can be answered during Q&A.
8. If you're presenting or somebody is speaking from your company, ask them to include the appropriate social media links in their presentation.

After your event:
1. Consider posting your presentations on SlideShare. Remind people to visit the event material on SlideShare.
2. Turn parts of the SlideShare presentation into a blog and reference the event at which this material was presented. Insert a link back to or embed the complete SlideShare deck so people can learn more. Tweet about this blog to your followers and be sure to use social bookmarking tools such as Digg or StumbleUpon. Have your friends and colleagues help promote these tools as well.
3. Release the video footage on video syndication sites and/or embed them into your blog. Reference the event at which the footage was taken.
4. Share pictures and videos from the event with your Facebook and/or LinkedIn group(s).
5. Ask speakers/presenters to continue to conversation for 1-2 hours after end of your event on your Facebook (or LinkedIn) discussion forum.
6. Pick a topic, announce it in the live session but manage the discussion online on your platform of choice.
7. Do a final check for any comments, tweets or posts you might have missed during the event and still require attention. Respond to outstanding questions in a timely manner. If you promised to follow up on something, be sure to do so.
8. Consider gathering feedback and asking for suggestions for future events if/as appropriate.
9. Organize a Tweet Up around the topic during or after the event.
10. Give exposure to people you have met, started following you or you started following at the event (e.g., #FF).
11. Drive attendees to your Community page to continue the conversation when the event is over.

Adding social media to your events has many benefits, some of which are listed here:
- Extend the life of your event
- Reach people that are unable to attend in person
- Reiterate and spread your key messages to a wider audience
- Raise awareness of and interest in future events

What other ideas do you have?