brandbuilder   24

Customer Lifetime Value: one of the keys to measuring long term ROI, among other uses.
LTV infographic by Kiss Metrics

“People pay you. Not pageviews.” That pretty much says it all. (image source.)

This is as badass as it is self-explanatory. For those of you who don’t know how to estimate customer lifetime value (LTV, or CLTV), this infographic should be a pretty handy little tool. (Just ignore the Starbucks references.) Why is this important? 3 reasons:

1. When justifying an investment in a marketing program whose goal will be to acquire (create) new customers, you can sift through your customer data and determine what the average customer spend (their value to the company in terms of net revenue) should be over time. You can drill into demos or average out every customer category to arrive at a gross average – that’s up to you. This helps you set targets. If the investment is $100,000 and management expects a x10 return on their investment for a certain timeframe, you can now figure out what your net new customer target needs to be for this campaign by performing some basic 8th grade math. If the brass still isn’t sure about the value of the investment, you can make your case by projecting the lifetime value of net new customers rather than monthly, quarterly or even annual sales. For that alone, it’s a handy little set of equations

2. Good marketing is about more than customer acquisition. It also has to focus on customer development and customer retention. When making your case for a program that focuses on keeping existing customers from leaving, being able to present LTV/CLTV figures provides you with a compelling argument for the funding of such programs. (It is a lot more cost effective to develop and retain customers than to acquire new ones.) Use LTV to model for management what breaks in the conversion chain will cost the company in lost revenue over time, and loyalty programs will be a lot more likely to get a little more love. If you spend $5,000,000 to onboard 10,000 new customers per year only to lose 60% of them by the following year, you can see whether or not your marketing plan is in fact a leaky bucket. You can’t know what you don’t know. Calculating LTV gives you parameters with which you can properly analyze your programs’ efficiencies and inefficiencies, including long term ROI.

3. Once you know your customers’ overall average LTV, you can start attacking not only the net new customers piece (acquisition) and the retention piece (loyalty), but the development piece as well. Say your overall customer LTV average works out to be $14,099. Why not try and move that needle up to $15,001, then $15,100, then $15,250?  This is the purpose of the customer development side of marketing (or business development, even). Devise ways to grow wallet-share. Increase average spend per transaction (yield) and buy rates (frequency). [Remember FRY? That's what we're talking about right now.] Tracking this number not only gives you baselines from which to devise targets and tactics, but it also gives you a dashboard needle with which to gauge your progress AND revise long term sales projections.

Do you know how many product managers and CMOs know how to do this (or bother to do this kind of analysis even if they do)? Not many. If you smell an opportunity to suddenly become a whole lot better at your job and maybe even impress higher paygrades with your business acumen, it means your nose is working.

One quick piece of advice: Don’t just file this away for later. Do something with it. Print the infographic, start playing with the equations, and see what you come up with. Create a baseline. Play with projections. Sift through customer data to see if certain demos might be more receptive to different types of messages and offers. Then use the data; don’t just collect and report it.

Very big hat tip to Business Insider and Liz Scherer for starting the information daisy chain, and of course a big thank you to Kiss Metrics and @avinash for putting together such a clean, clear and concise infographic detailing the LTV calculation process.

PS: If you aren’t familiar with F.R.Y. methodology, it’s all spelled out here:

Score your own copy of Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que) just about anywhere business books are sold, if you haven’t already. The book is actually about a whole lot more than ROI and focuses on a lot of business fundamentals with applications reaching beyond the digital world. (The Chapter on F.R.Y. will be particularly helpful given today’s blog topic.)

You can also check out smroi.net to dig deeper into the book and even sample a free chapter, or let the reviews on Amazon.com help you decide whether or not it is worth the price of a turkey sandwich.

Cheers,

Olivier

Filed under: business Tagged: #smROI, brandbuilder, customer lifetime value, olivier blanchard
business  #smROI  brandbuilder  customer_lifetime_value  olivier_blanchard  from google
march 2012 by pratapdsingh
Deathbed Confessions – Part 2: You are not your job.
Part 2: Fear, career potholes and the weight of social shame.

“I’m afraid to tell people that I am closing my business because I’m afraid of what they’ll think,” was one admission from a panelist.

“My identity was so tied to my job/title that now that I am on my own, I’m not sure how to handle that,” was another.

One acquaintance in the audience seemed a little hesitant when he told me that he had jumped back into the corporate world – as if I might think that was a bad thing because… I might see it as a failure on his part, somehow. (Why would I? People change jobs all the time. people open and close businesses too. It’s a natural cycle.)

Weird how all these different situations had one thing in common: Fear. There was far more angst in that room than I had anticipated. Lots of private thoughts along the lines of “what will people think?” and uneasiness about the stigma that comes from having perhaps failed at something. Lots of people not quite comfortable with lying about it but not quite comfortable admitting it either.

Why? The term social shame comes to mind. Almost everyone in the room seemed traumatized by having been fired, laid off or having failed at building a successful business.

More than a few people in that room worried about what admitting to having failed (or being fired or downsized) might do to their personal brand too. That’s a hell of a burden to carry around, and an unnecessary one at that.

And you know what? I get it. Most of us have been there or are there or will be there at some point. Case in point: In almost 20 years of being an adult, I’ve been fired twice. Not laid off: Fired. For a long time, I was ashamed to admit it. I thought people would hold it against me, that they would assume I sucked at my job or had done something horrible to lose my job. I assumed it would be a double black mark on my employment record. Then one day I realized that was ridiculous. The failures were not my own.

The first time I was fired was a simple case of a CEO being a bully. Dignity and self-respect won. The job lost. As much as I enjoyed the steady paycheck and the job itself, it was an easy choice to make. The loser in that short conflict was the company, not me. (I went on to better and greater things. They didn’t.)

The second time was because my boss wanted me to sign off on fraudulent invoices and bonus manipulation, among other things. I refused to take part in it. The choice was again simple for me: I didn’t need a paycheck that badly. (I’m not going to federal prison for any employer. Not my idea of a good career move.) I was fired within days of refusing to join the scheme. Again, guess who was the loser in that instance? For the second time in my career, I went on to better and greater thing. They didn’t.

As it turns out, getting fired was a great move for me: None of the jobs I had until I went off on my own involved flying to Sydney or Amsterdam or Dubai for business. None of them gave me the opportunity to speak in front of big crowds or meet so many interesting professionals from all over the world. None of those jobs ever gave me the flexibility to spend 2 months in France in the summer with my wife and kids (and dogs) and work from there if I wanted to. None of them would have allowed my life-long dream of publishing a book (and now there are more on the way). I don’t have to work with assholes or shady people if I don’t want to. I don’t have to kiss anyone’s ass to get a promotion. I don’t have to deal with back-stabbers or mean, jealous petty people anymore. Nobody micromanages me. I don’t have to lie to anyone. I have the freedom to succeed or fail on my own terms. There’s also the risk of failure. I have to live with that, but it’s worth it. I love what I do. I love my freedom, however short-lived it may be.

None of these things would have happened if I hadn’t been fired. Getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to my professional career. I was lucky that it’s happened to me not once but twice. The fact that I only get fired once per decade tells me I’m still playing it way too safe. Imagine if I had been fired more often: I would have gotten to this point in my career a lot sooner. What I wouldn’t give for that. (This might be a good place to point out that both of these jobs were in South Carolina – a “right to work state” – where anyone can be fired for pretty much anything at any time for any reason with complete impunity.)

The folks at IDEO are right: Fail early and often. The faster you fail, the faster you work out the bugs. It’s a process. If there’s anything I wish I knew how to do better, it’s this: Quitting. If I knew how to quit, how to walk away, I would save myself the trouble of getting fired at all. (I’m still working on that.)

The thing is, I know this will fail too. What I am doing now won’t last forever. I’ll eventually fire myself or fail outright. Maybe I’ll take a job with an agency or with a company on the client side. Or maybe I’ll just decide to go open up an adventure-racing school in South Africa or a photo studio in Antibes. Why not? Life is an adventure. Don’t fight it. Roll with the punches. Go with the flow. See where the currents take you.

So here I was in this room, surrounded by people who felt pretty bad about having been fired or having (at least in their minds) failed in some way. Some were visibly ashamed. Others were mostly just confused about whether or not they should share what happened to them. Many were scared to some extent about what it meant, about what people might think, about how it would hurt their image or their chances of landing another good job in the future. I’ve been there too, and it’s not a great place to be in your life. No matter how clear your conscience may be, you still feel small, vulnerable and dejected.

For many of us, it goes far beyond fear and shame. There’s anger too: You feel betrayed by the people you served. You gave so much of yourself and made so many sacrifices for them – missing your kids’ soccer games, working late, often dealing with abuse or harassment, enduring ever-shrinking benefits and the annual insult commonly referred to as the annual “raise” because it was the right thing to do, because your believed it would eventually be worth it. You thought that if you could endure it long enough and jump through enough hoops, you would eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe even make a real difference. Well, that didn’t happen. Someone pulled out the rug from under you. All of the time, energy, love and hope you invested in that company, in your job, it all just evaporated. It’s an awful feeling. It’s traumatic. There’s no way to walk away from that unscathed. I guess the first thing to realize is that even though it’s happening to you, it isn’t just happening to you. It happens to pretty much everybody. It’s a lot easier to handle that kind of trauma and disappointment when you realize it happens to almost everyone. In fact, it happens to the best of us.

I wanted to make a point so I asked everyone in the room to raise their hands if they had ever been fired or laid off from a job. Almost everyone (including the panel) raised their hand. It was fascinating to see the looks of surprise on some people’s faces at the sight of all of those hands in the air. You could literally see the stress melt from a few of them just from knowing they weren’t alone. It helped, I think. At least I’d like to think so. You have to start somewhere.

Now… People in transition (moving back into the corporate world or moving out of it) could focus on personal branding and Klout score optimization. They could focus their energy on trying to become gurus and experts and ninjas, on raising their professional profiles by speaking at events and writing e-books… But none of that will really free them from the fear that will always hold them, their careers and their lives hostage. They’ll just be trading one prison for another, one dysfunctional professional path for another. And because that fear of social shame will be 1000x greater now that their career is “public” than when it was behind the corporate firewall, every potential failure along the way will carry with it a much greater burden. If you think that’s smart, go for it. If that sounds not so smart, you’re right. There’s more important inner work that needs to be done before launching into campaigns of self-promotion. Ask any political candidates whose campaign imploded about that. Ask any rock star or actor in rehab about it too. Ask any banker or accountant in federal prison the same question: How did you get here? Why did this happen? If they’ve given it any thought, they’ll all have the same answer. We’ll probably talk about that in Part 3.

What I want to focus on today though is fear: The fear of not only failing but admitting that you did. Now that I see how much damage and pain that kind of fear causes, I feel like sharing a few insights that our panel touched on with the rest of you. Some may apply to you. Others may not. You may disagree and that’s fine. I just hope that they will help somebody. Anybody.

So if you’re feeling bad about closing up shop or leaving a job, don’t. And if you know someone who’s having a really hard time with this right now, feel free to share this with them.

Here are a few takeaways from our panel on career transitions:

1. If you haven’t been fired at least once or twice in your career, you might not be doing it right. And if you haven’t failed once or twice at making a business successful, you probably aren’t thinking big enough. Go for failure #3 as soon as you can. Look, unless you’re insanely lucky, failure is part of the success equation. If you haven’t known any yet, chances are that you’re coloring inside the lines maybe a little too well. You might have even stopped moving forward and testing the limits of … [more]
lessons  brandbuilder  career  courage  failure  olivier_blanchard  patience  results  social_shame  success  truth  from google
january 2012 by pratapdsingh
R.I.P. Personal Branding
May 2012 finally sound the death knell for all things “personal branding.”

Here’s the thing: People are people. They aren’t brands. When people become “brands,” they stop being people and become one of three things: vessels for cultural archetypes, characters in a narrative, or products. (Most of the time, becoming a brand means they become all three.) Unlike people, brands have attributes and trade dress, slogans and tag lines which can all be trademarked, because unlike people, brands exist to ultimately sell something.

That core need to build a brand to ultimately sell something is at the very crux of the problem with “personal branding.” Can you realistically remain “authentic” and real once you have surrendered yourself to a process whose ultimate aim is to drive a business agenda?

Perhaps more to the point – and this is especially relevant in the era of social communications and the scaling of social networks – is there really any value to turning yourself into a character or a product instead of just being… well, who you are? And I am not talking about iconic celebrities, here. I am talking about people like you and me.

Think about it. Those of us who truly value attributes like transparency and authenticity (and that would be the vast majority of people) don’t want to sit in a room with a guy playing a part. If I am interviewing an applicant for a job, the less layers between who he is and who he wants me to think he is, the better. Those extra layers of personal branding, they’re artifice. They’re disingenuous. They’re bullshit. I am going to sense that and the next thought that will pop up in my head is “what’s this guy really hiding?”

You know what we used to call people with “personal brands” before the term was coined? Fakes. So here is a simple bit of advice for 2012: Don’t be a fake. Drop the personal branding BS. You don’t need it.

If you really want to brand something, focus on your business, on your blog, on your product. If your product is you, I hope your name is Lance Armstrong, Tom Cruise or Lady Gaga, because otherwise you aren’t thinking clearly about this. A brand is ultimately an icon. Are you an icon? No. You aren’t. And if you ever become one, you won’t need to worry about building a personal brand.

Have I seen your face  pop up on billboard ads for Nike, Ford or Chanel? Are you on Wheaties boxes? Do you have your own action figure? Do designers call your agent asking if you would wear their clothes to award shows? No? Then you aren’t a product or a brand.

Let’s walk away from the professional navel-gazing industry for a minute recalibrate things just a tad. If what you’re after is improving your image and your odds of being successful in whatever your endeavor is, drop the personal branding nonsense and give these little tips some thought:

1. Talk less, do more. Let your work speak for itself. Michael Jordan didn’t spend all his time trying to build a strong personal brand. He practiced his craft. He trained. He worked his ass off to be the best basketball player he could be. It doesn’t mean you should stop blogging or granting interviews or making videos. It just means that the ratio of doing vs. talking should clearly favor the former over the latter.

2. Be relevant, not just popular. I know Klout is all the rage these days, but nobody gives a shit. No, really. What was Steve Jobs’ Klout score again?

Go solve a problem. Go cure cancer. Go create jobs for people in your community. Go fight against modern day slavery or spousal abuse or childhood homelessness. Go help Nike or Microsoft or the small bakery across the street build or do something remarkable. I guarantee that the closer you get to doing something relevant, the farther your mind will be from the latest popularity metric.

3. Reputation is more important than image. With a little work, anyone can create an online persona that exudes success and brilliance. Anyone. Image is nothing more than marketing. Here’s something you need to know: The people who will actually be in a position to help you in life understand this. You won’t fool them with superficial image design. They don’t care about it and know how to see right through it. Be what you say you are. Build a reputation for yourself. See #1.

4. Speaking of image, find a good tailor. You want to look good in person? Take whatever money you were planning on throwing at personal branding seminars or webinars and spend it on a good tailor instead. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on clothes to look put together. Believe it or not, most of the time, H&M and Target will do just fine. The trick is in getting whatever you buy altered to fit you properly. A good tailor can make a $75 sport coat look like you spent $750 on it, so spend the $25 extra bucks on the alteration. Nobody cares how much you spent on your clothes, but they might care that you have sense enough to know how to wear them like an civilized adult.

What you should have tailored: Pants, dress shirts, jackets. Always. No exception. For men, everything you need to know about this can be found in Esquire’s Big Black Book of Style (usually released twice per year – in the spring and fall).

5. Just be yourself. If I have learned anything from Facebook’s new Timeline feature, it’s this: It’s fun to be yourself. It’s easy to forget that, especially when the “personal branding” industry would have you shift your focus away from the little flaws that make you… well, you. Remember that thing about authenticity and transparency earlier? The more you have of the first, the more you can get away with the second. If you’re an asshole, the solution is simple: either work on that, learn to be a funny asshole, or spend less time on Facebook. If you’re a kind, pleasant, remotely interesting person though, just be that and everything will be okay.

If you’ve ever interviewed applicants for a job or held open auditions, you know the drill: Some people walk into the room and show you only what they want you to see. Others walk into the room and show you something real about themselves. Guess who stands no chance at all of getting a callback. Fakes need not apply. Trust is far too important a thing to gamble away on personal branding schemes. The more honest about who you are around people, the  more they will respond to you. It’s that simple.

The worst thing you can do for your career (and your relationships) is to try and build a personal brand.  It will get in the way of real success, of real connections with people, of real opportunities. It will distract you and divert your focus away from work that matters. It will warp your sense of self worth. It will flip your values upside down until what you care about the most is what you should be caring about the least.

If you really want people to know your name and take notice, go build something. Make something good happen. Create. Invent. Help. Rescue. Solve. Improve. Apply yourself to any of those endeavors and in time, you will earn some measure of respect and even perhaps notoriety or fame. That’s how it works. Jules Verne is known for his stories. Steven Spielberg is known for his films. Richard Branson is known for his success in business. Author. Film maker. Entrepreneur. Compare that to “online personality” or “social media expert.”

So here is wishing “personal branding” safe journeys and a heartfelt farewell in 2012. Thanks for visiting. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

So what are you guys working on this year already? What’s your next project? What will this next 365-day chapter be about for you?

*          *          *

Oh, I almost forgot: Social Media ROI is now available in German! Check it out.

For the English-language Social Media ROI portal, click here. To buy it directly from Amazon, click here.

For the German edition of Social Media ROI, click here.

I’m kind of psyched about that.

Filed under: branding Tagged: authentic, brandbuilder, facebook, image, klout, marketing, olivier blanchard, personal branding, transparent
branding  authentic  brandbuilder  facebook  image  klout  marketing  olivier_blanchard  personal_branding  transparent  from google
january 2012 by ilicco
Explaining “social media ROI” AGAIN. And again. And… again.
Maybe I should just republish this post every day for the next ten years (or however long it takes for content bloggers, social media “gurus” and marketing authors/speakers to get this).

With a little repetition – and surely with enough time – even the dumbest and most obtuse of them will eventually get it.

Maybe.

As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called “experts” and “gurus” couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today, less than a month from 2012. We’ve talked about this topic how many times? I and others have presented on the topic in how many countries? On how many continents? For how many years now? How many times has this simple business 101 topic been explained and explained and explained? Even if somehow, some social media “experts” have managed to miss the presentations, the conversations, the podcasts, the interviews, the decks on slideshare and the blog posts, there’s a book now that spends 300 pages on the topic. At the very least, they should have heard a rumor that the “question” had been answered. Right? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

What else can we do? Take out full page ads in the New York Times? Take over Mashable for a month? Buy a banner ad on Klout’s home page? What will it take for the asshats pretending to be experts to stop talking about ROI as if it were some arcane mythical metric?

Seriously, you have to be either completely disconnected from the channels you claim to be an expert participant in, or purposely avoiding this stuff to still get it wrong. Is social media ROI to be the the clitoris of the “guru” world then? Will some so-called “experts” really live out their lives without ever finding it? If so, isn’t that a sign that perhaps they need to go try their hands at being experts in another field?

It makes you wonder about these people’s qualifications, doesn’t it? What makes them experts again? A few hundred blog posts and some keynote presentations? A “personal brand?” A lot of followers? Is that all it takes now?

Here’s a simple litmus test for you: Experts know their shit. A self-professed expert who doesn’t know his shit is just a windbag. If you don’t want to be categorized as the latter, immerse yourself in the field you aim to be an expert in. Commit to it for years and years and years. Writing a few blog posts about something doesn’t make you an expert in it, no matter how hard you want to believe it does.

Utterly ignorant nonsense: The battle-cry of new religion of digital windbags?

First, this gem from @CopyBlogger‘s CFO, Mr. Sean Jackson. (A few of my favorite quotes from that post):

“Marketing ROI has become so important that no one questions its validity, but the truth is, marketing will never produce an ROI. [...]  The problem for marketing professionals is that marketing activity is not an investment. An investment is an asset that you purchase and place on your Balance Sheet. Like an office building or a computer system. It’s something you could sell later if you didn’t need it any more. Marketing is an expense, and goes on the Profit & Loss statement.”

WHAT?! Are you kidding me?!

And yet in the same interview, Mr. Jackson continues with this:

“Sales generate revenue. Marketing generates profits.”

WHAT?! Sure, it sounds pretty, but how does that work, exactly? How do you calculate profits if… Oh, never mind…

“Marketing, including social media marketing, is about efficiency. Marketing is a process of decreasing the time, money, and resources required to communicate with customers and make it easy for them to buy products and services. The more efficient your marketing is, the more profit you make. That’s what you want to optimize for. By defining marketing as a function of profits, you create a new perception within your organization about the value of marketing.”

Since Sean is a CFO, I have to assume that he knows how to calculate profit on a balance sheet. … The very balance sheet as the one on which Marketing is nothing but “an expense”?

Look, if marketing can’t produce ROI, then it can’t generate a profit. A profit is a function of ROI. Profit is the very manifestation of the expectation of ROI: You invest in something, use it, and hope it generates enough revenue to cover your investment and other operational costs, and… wait for it… turn a profit.

This is Business 101 stuff. Seriously, it is. Little kids running lemonade stands know this.

If you are going to claim that marketing is about profits, then you have to concede that marketing plays a part in cutting costs or generating revenue. Once you realize that, ROI becomes obviously relevant to marketing spend. Marketing does generate ROI, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. And yet, shit like this gets published. (Yes, shit.)

Example #2: David Meerman Scott’s piece entitled “Social Media ROI Hypocrisy.”

The post’s elegant tag-line:

“New research – published here for the first time – proves that executives who demand that Social Media ROI be calculated are hypocrites.”

Nice. Here’s more:

“It’s ridiculous that executives require marketers to calculate ROI (Return on Investment) on one form of real-time communications: Social media like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Yet they happily pay for other real-time communications devices for employees like Blackberrys, iPhones, and iPads without a proven ROI.”

And my favorite:

“My recommendation to you when faced with executives who demand that you prove social media ROI is to point out the hypocrisy by asking them to show you the ROI of their Blackberry.”

Here’s my recommendation to you: Don’t answer an executive who asks you about ROI with “what’s the ROI of your blackberry?”

Why? Because it’s rude, unprofessional, and it only serves to prove two things: 1. You’re an asshole, and 2. you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Here’s a better way: If an executive bothered to ask you a question that matters to his or her business, answer it. If you can’t, recommend someone who can. It’s the least you can do. The idea being to help the client, not show him how much of a smug smartass you are.

Speaking of questions: Either answer them or go home.

I have heard it suggested that many corporate executives use the ROI “question” as an excuse to object to social media spend. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

Corporate execs have very busy schedules. Believe it or not, they don’t waste their time listening to your sales pitches knowing, before they walk into the room, that they are going to turn you down. Do you really think they sit around all day hoping someone will come in to talk to them about social media just so they can use their favorite “ROI objection” trick on them? They have companies to run. Either  produce a way to help them do that or stop wasting their time.

Here’s a double dose of reality for you: When corporate executives ask you about ROI with respect to social media, they are motivated by 2 things:

1. They want to know how social media spend will benefit them so they can justify the expense. Understanding the potential value of an investment is pretty basic business practice, and a sound one. What did you expect? A blank check and a 5-year consulting contract just because you spoke at Blogworld and your Klout score is awesome? What world do you live in?

2. They want to know if you know your shit or if you are just another windbag blogger “guru” with no business management acumen. They get pitched by two dozen bullshit social media experts per week. This is their test. Either pass it or fuck off.

Four final thoughts:

1. When business executives take the time to meet with you, reward their time investment by not being an asshole. (i.e. Not asking them about the ROI of their blackberry is a good start.) Answer their questions. That’s why you’re there in the first place.

2. If you don’t know how to answer an executive’s ROI questions, guess what: You aren’t qualified to advise them on the matter. Sorry. Admit it and carry on.

3. Whether or not you believe that ROI is a relevant topic of discussion when it comes to integrating social dynamics and platforms into a business doesn’t matter. You are mistaking a philosophical discussion with a practical one. Explain the principles first. Answer their questions. Help them get through that first phase (justification). Once the ROI question has been laid out and everyone gets it, THEN discuss with them the positive intangibles of building a more social company (see #6 below). They are testing your knowledge, not your religion. Stop evangelizing and start getting down to brass tacks.

4. If the same executives aren’t measuring the ROI of other things (like advertising campaigns, product development, websites, or even marketing in general,) show them how. It’s a hell of a lot more valuable than calling them hypocrites for not having done it until now. Be a positive agent of change, not just another smug asshole trying to weasel his way onto their payroll.

Doing something a lot teaches you how things work and don’t work. So do more. Talk less. You want to advise companies on how ROI fits into the social media world? Learn how to connect spend to outcomes (results). Once you grasp that the way a baker grasps the baking of bread, then you’ll be qualified to advise companies and other professionals on the matter. Not before. This isn’t theory. It isn’t about opinions. It’s practical everyday business knowledge. You either have it or you don’t.

Moving on…

The rest of this post won’t make you an expert, but it will at least give you the basics.

If you are still having trouble explaining or understanding the intricacies of social media R.O.I., chances are that…

1. You are asking the wrong question.

Do you want to know what one of the worst … [more]
ROI  Uncategorized  brandbuilder  competent  justification  marketing  measurement  olivier_blanchard  qualified  social_business  social_media_ROI  from google
december 2011 by ilicco
Brand management: The asshole effect
Every doctrine has to start somewhere. Even this one.

Want to boost your repeat business, get tons of free referrals, acquire bunches of new customers and get lots of positive buzz for free? There’s a pretty simple way to do it that doesn’t have to cost you a whole lot. Can you guess what it is?

Simple: Purge your company of assholes.

In fact, let me share item #1 in my Better Business Doctrine with you real quick. Are you ready? Here we go:

The customer-facing organization with the fewest assholes wins.

That’s it.

A simple example, from the friendly skies.

Does this seem like common sense? Of course it does. And yet here we are, routinely forced to endure a passive-aggressive or plain argumentative jerks who would rather exercise their “authority” than provide customers – even stressed out customers – with pleasant experiences. Why is that? Let me answer that question: Because companies are still hiring assholes.

Let me give you a few personal examples:

1a. The Continental flight I was on a few months ago

Flight Attendant (sternly) to a passenger in the process of turning off their iPad, just not quickly enough: “SIR! I need you to turn that off right now!” (Stares angrily at passenger until the device is turned off, and walks away, visibly annoyed.)

This probably happens to flight crews 20+ times per day. Every time a plane pushes off from the gate and prepares its approach, passengers in the middle of a song, of a paragraph, of a game of Angry Birds or Brick Breaker take an extra 10-30 seconds to “comply” with the “please turn off your electronic devices at this time” announcement on the PA. I get it. It probably gets annoying after a while. But guess what: You’re a flight attendant. Asking people to turn off their electronic toys comes with the job. You don’t have to be an asshole about it. Case in point:

1b: The Delta flight I was on the following day

- Flight Attendant (with a smile, jokingly) to a passenger so absorbed by what he was reading that he missed the “turn off your electronic devices” announcement and kept his Kindle going: “Good book?”

- Passenger, sensing that he was the object of the flight attendant’s attention, looks up from his device: “I’m sorry?”

- Flight Attendant, nonchalantly points at the Kindle: “Good reading?”

- Passenger, smiling back: “Yeah. Very!” (Gets it. Laughs. Starts to look for the “off” button.)

- Flight attendant: “You can turn it back on as soon as we’re on the ground.” (Walks away. Stops. Turns around.) “The book. What is it?”

Passenger answers. Flight attendant repeats the title as if to remember it, nods as if interested, and returns to his station.

The difference between the two isn’t training or pay. It isn’t corporate policy or procedure. It isn’t even company culture. The difference between the two occurrences is this:

One of these flight attendants, at some point during the course of her day, week, month, year or career, decided to let her asshole flag fly. The other one didn’t.

The basic impact of an asshole on your customers

How every asshole on your payroll affects your brand equity and impacts your business on a daily basis.

The impact of just one asshole’s behavior in a customer-facing role doesn’t stop with the one customer they treat poorly. Ten rows of passengers witnessed the exchanges on both flights, and I can guarantee that the ten rows on the Continental flight (30 passengers) were not impressed, while those on the Delta flight surely were. The ramifications of this are simple:

Whatever shot Continental had at influencing these 30 people to develop a preference for flying its friendly skies, for being more loyal, for looking to book future flights with them first, just flew out the window, not because of price, not because of delays, not because the plane was dirty. The price was great. The plane left on time and was impeccable. Continental did everything right except one thing: Someone there allowed an asshole (and probably more than one) to take on a key customer service role. Delta, on the other hand, scored some points.

And just to be fair, I’ve run into my fair of assholes working for Delta too. Few domestic US airlines seem immune to this phenomenon these days, except for perhaps Alaska Air, whose service and hiring practices, to my knowledge are still impeccable.

That said, my experience with Delta flight crews recently has been stellar, and not just because of this little anecdote. (Expect another post about what else happened very soon.) The difference between the two airlines for me was limited to my experience, as it is for all of us. Before the recommendations and the word-of-mouth and the marketing, our own experience shapes our bias.

Every positive experience creates positive associations with a brand, while every negative experience creates a negative association with a brand. More positive than negative = positive bias, preference, even loyalty. Consistent negative experiences (especially those that repeat themselves, like frequent delays, rude employees, apathetic managers, or being talked down to by an unprofessional asshole) = negative bias, preference for your competitors instead of you, and cynicism towards your brand.

The wheels of this mental equation – more emotional than empirical – start turning every time the thought of your brand comes up, and you need to understand it isn’t linear. The way we process the negative and the positive isn’t as balanced as you might think. For whatever reason, until you have grown into a loyal fan of the brand, the equation tends to be heavily weighed towards the negative: What you did right six months ago – or for the last thirty years,- doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you did wrong yesterday or just last week. That’s part 1 of how the mental math of brand experiences work. Part 2 is this: People will easily forgive incidents and accidents: Lost luggage, no available upgrades, long lines at the counter, mechanical problems, etc. Those things are out of your control, and once the anger and frustration subside, they’ll get it. Those negative impressions will evaporate. But one thing customers won’t forgive of any company: Being deliberately treated badly by an asshole.

Just as being an asshole  is a choice, – especially when dealing with a customer – hiring an asshole and keeping them on staff is also a choice. Because of this immutable fact, every company bears its part of responsibility in the hiring and promoting of assholes. Customers instinctively understand this, which is why when they run into one of your company’s assholes, they don’t blame the asshole for treating them poorly, they blame you. They blame the brand. The negative association they take home with them isn’t with that person (whose name and face they will forget inside of a week), but with you. Your assholes are faceless. All customers remember is the context: You. Your company. Your brand. The asshole just goes on being an asshole day after day, happy to have a job that pays him – even rewards him – for being a complete raging asshole all day long.

At the end of their shift, what you have to understand is that assholes in your employ don’t lose customers. You do. You spend your resources bringing them to the cash register, and every asshole on your staff spends all day making sure they never come back.

For this reason if none other, choose and evaluate your employees carefully.

The impact of just one asshole - amplified by social media

The real cost of letting assholes poison your brand from the inside.

If you are in business and have employees, let me be VERY clear about this: You are always only one asshole away from losing your best customer. The more assholes you have on staff, the faster and more often this will happen.

Not only that, but assholes tend to turn off, not only the one customer they happen to be unpleasant to, but everyone within earshot as well.

And today, ladies and gentlemen, “within earshot” isn’t just the ten rows on the plane or the ten people in the store waiting to check out. It is also potentially the hundreds of thousands of Facebook and Twitter users who might get a glimpse of that negative experience and be turned off in turn. Even millions, for that matter. (See previous 2 images, inspired by David Armano’s “Influence Ripples” theory (Edelman), below:)

David Armano's "Influence Ripples" (Edelman)

Let me give this a financial angle for you: Over the course of a year, one asshole on your staff, just one, can invalidate every dime your company has spent on advertising, marketing and PR. That’s the real liability of assholes. For small businesses, an asshole might only cost you $10,000 in wasted marketing, messaging or brand positioning. If you’re a bigger company, the same asshole (or a whole army of them, which is more likely) could cost you hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted marketing and brand management dollars.

That was part 1 of that equation. Part 2 is measured in lost revenue from disappointed customers taking their business elsewhere (your competitors thank you), lost revenue from all of the net new customers delighted customers would have recommended you to (but didn’t, because your assholes chased them away), and so on.

As a result, the higher the proportion of assholes to caring professionals a company has on staff, the more likely it is to have to spend more and more on marketing (with increasingly diminishing returns), while customer retention falls flat and even starts to dip into the red. Assholes aren’t just bad for customer service or your brand’s image. Assholes are bad for business. They are a counter-current to your hopes and dreams. They are the cancer that first weighs you down, then eventually makes your brand begin to fail, then wither, then die.

So let me repeat today’s lesson: The customer-facing organization with the least amount of assholes wins.

Don’t believe me? … [more]
brand_ambassadors  brand_planning  business  competitive_edge  corporate_culture  corporate_ecosystem  customer_experience  brand_management  brandbuilder  customer_experience_design  customer_service  hiring  HR  olivier_blanchard  pr  from google
november 2011 by pratapdsingh
10 Truths about Social Media & Social Business you need to know.
Translation: "don't drink the water"

If I were to start a social media blog today, I would call it simply “Stating The Obvious.” The types of topics we would cover would fall along the lines of:

1. “Social” is something you are, not something you do. If your company culture doesn’t focus on building relationships with your customers, then chances are that you won’t use social media to do it either. The “media” doesn’t dictate how social a company is or isn’t. It simply enhances its ability to be a social business – if in fact it is – or illustrates the extent to which it isn’t.

2. You cannot outsource customer relationships to an agency. Can you outsource your presence at Thanksgiving dinner to an agency? Do you send your PR team to social events and parties when you have better things to do than attend? Social media isn’t any different. Why? Because it is “social media,” not “delegation media” or “pretend media”. Research and intelligence, sure. That can be outsourced. Creative? That too. Implementing technologies and helping you with strategy? You bet. Marketing, PR and advertising? Of course. But the relationship part: Shaking hands, being there when customers ask your for help, participating in conversations, making them feel at home when they do business with you, none of these can be outsourced.

3. A blog is just a blog. It isn’t a magical trust and influence publishing converter for the web. Publishing propaganda or marketing content is just that, regardless of the publishing platform. Just because you publish marketing content on a blog doesn’t mean it magically morphs into something “authentic” that “engaged customers” will spread through “word of mouth.”

4. Marketing on social media channels isn’t “social.” It is just marketing. Just as publishing marketing content on a blog doesn’t make marketing content any less manufactured and biased, publishing content on social media channels isn’t “social.” Every time I hear a company proudly state that they have a social media program when in fact, all they have is a marketing program that uses social media channels, I feel sorry for its stakeholders and customers. This is one of two things: Delusion or spin. And by “spin,” I mean a lie. If you are a professional in this space, either build a real social media program – one that is actually social – or get out of the way because those of us on a mission to do it right are coming in hot.

5. Transparency isn’t just a word. If you don’t intend to practice it, don’t preach it. Transparency isn’t a flag you get to wave around only when it is convenient. Disclosure also shouldn’t be something your legal department needs to brief you about. You already know what’s right. And by “right,” I don’t just mean “ethical” or what you can get away with. I mean “right.” Do that. Treat your customers with respect and treat your program on foundations of integrity and professional pride.

6. Change management, not social media tools and platforms, is at the crux of social media program development. Because social is something you are, not something you do, most organizations cannot succeed in the social space by changing what they do and not who they are. A Director of Social Media can only do so much. “Social” speaks at least as much to your company’s DNA as it does to its business practices. If you don’t really care about your customers, social media won’t magically transform you into someone who does. You have to want to become this type of individual, and for your organization as a whole to follow suit, in order for the socialization of your business to be successful.

7. People are more important than technology. Hire people who care about other people. If you hire and promote assholes, your company will be full of assholes. It doesn’t matter how much Twitter and Facebook you add to your company’s communications or how many awesome monitoring dashboards you buy if you are a company of assholes.  Guess what: An asshole on social media is still an asshole. Start with your people, not your tools. They are what makes social either work or fail.

8. Social media should not be managed by Marketing anymore than your phones should be managed by Sales. 41% of social media directors are marketing professionals while only 1% are customer service professionals. Would you care to guess as to why it is that only 1% of social media programs seem to be yielding actual results (and I mean business measurables, not just web measurables)  while the rest are just making noise and turning anecdotal BS into “case studies?” (See item 9 for further insights into this.)

9. Shut up and listen. Everywhere I look, I see companies spending a good deal of their time (and budgets) focusing on producing content, blog posts, social media press releases, tweets, updates, events, and looking to “content strategy” to make sure it all fits smoothly together. That’s nice. Too bad they don’t spend at least as much time thinking about their listening strategy. Maybe they would actually get somewhere if they did. Listen to your customers. Listen to your competitors’ customers. Everything companies need to know is passing them by because they are too busy talking. Shut up, already. Nobody really cares what you have to say, and if they do, they don’t need to hear it all day long. Really. Just make great products, consistently create exceptional experiences for customers, and focus every bit of energy in making sure no customer of yours is ever disappointed, and you’ll be good to go. If your communications serve your marketing department more than they serve your customers, you are doing it wrong.

10. Any consultant, “thought leader,” agency or partner who doesn’t tell you these things isn’t fit to be consulted on the subject. Do big promises, miracle cures and fairy tales sound like reality to you? “If you buy X, your business will suddenly grow and improve?” Really? Does “we have the best secret formula” sound legitimate to you? It doesn’t matter where your new “advisors” have worked, who they have worked with or how many people follow them on Twitter.  Of course they are all going to have great stories to tell. It’s called “marketing.” Ever heard of it?

Or maybe I would call that blog “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Alive and well in 2011.”

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Chances are that you’ve already bought a copy of Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que/Pearson), but what about your boss? Have your clients discovered it yet? Have you shared it with your employees and coworkers? (It makes a great gift, and it will make your organization stronger.)

Get yours here or here.

Filed under: Social Business, social media Tagged: brandbuilder, olivier blanchard, social business, social media
Social_Business  social_media  brandbuilder  olivier_blanchard  from google
october 2011 by ilicco
Social CRM: A definition
I didn’t realize it until this week, but there still seems to be some confusion about Social CRM in certain business circles. Let’s fix that right now.

(Before you get too excited, Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization won’t be followed by Social CRM: The Complete Guide to the Obvious. We can take care of this right here and without the need for another 299 pages of examples and how-tos.)

This is how the discussion started: Neville Hobson (@jangles on Twitter) asked Edelman Digital’s Chuck Hemann (@chuckhemann) and I what we thought of Esteban Kolsky’s (@ekolsky) definition of Social CRM yesterday. The definition, as it appears below, comes from this piece on Neville’s blog, dated 9 May 2011, following Luke Brynley-Jones‘ Social CRM 2011 event in London:

[...] The closest best definition on the day came from  Esteban Kolsky in his presentation on “Three Reasons You Will Do Social CRM”:

[Social] CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction in a business environment.

It’s a start. A good start, even, but while I don’t disagree with the definition completely (and here I must apologize to Esteban for what follows), it misses the mark twice:

First, CRM is neither a philosophy nor a business strategy, but a business function. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. (Emphasis on management: A function.) So before we do anything else, the definition should be changed to this:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction in a business environment.

Second, the definition is far too vague about what the system and technology actually do. And because it is vague and doesn’t actually provide a clear explanation of what the technology does, it fails as a definition. We have to go a little further if we want to make it work.

Let’s begin with the last part and maybe we can find a way to whip it into something more helpful: ”Designed to improve human interaction in a business environment.” What does that mean? The telephone is designed to improve human interactions in a business environment. So are email and memos. Faxes, IMs, SMS, blogs, video-conferencing and high tech conference rooms and work spaces all perform the same function. What differentiates SCRM from any other collaboration tool? is it even a collaboration tool?

You see how already, something crucial is missing.

If we want to look at the definition of SCRM in the context of company-customer relations, then we must include that element in the definition. Let’s see what that looks like:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction between companies and consumers in a business environment.

Okay, that’s a little better. But we still aren’t there. We’ve established that CRM is a business function. We don’t need the final four words of the definition. In fact, they are incorrect as the expansion of CRM into the social space blurs the line between business environments and non-business environments. Our definition now becomes:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction between companies and consumers.

Now we are getting somewhere. The definition is far less vague than it was before. We are starting to see what the aim of CRM is… but it still isn’t entirely clear, is it. What kinds of human interactions are we talking about? Is SCRM a customer service tool? A technical support tool? A marketing tool? What sets it apart from communications tools, which also improve human interactions between companies and customers?

We need to dig deeper.

Let’s start with the obvious: What is the difference between CRM and SCRM?

CRM collects data on consumers so that customer service reps and salespeople can look up their purchase history, billing history, complaint history, and any other information pertaining to their interactions with your company. It allows you to serve them better when they call with a question or problem, and it also allows you to better target them when the marketing department cranks up the budget furnaces. That’s what CRM does. It focuses on what consumers do with your company and allows you to use that information.

Social CRM (SCRM) aims to bring a whole new data set to traditional CRM by linking customers’ social data to their transaction data. What does that mean? Well, it means is that in addition to what traditional CRM tells you about these customers, SCRM also adds what they do outside of their relationship with your company: Where they go, what they like, what they share, what they search for, what they talk about, etc. by collecting that data from social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Foursquare and many more.

Fig.1: CRM view

Fig.2: SCRM view

Social CRM takes traditionalCRM and injects it with what can be best described as lifestyle data, human data, broader cultural and behavioral data. You are no longer limited to observing your customers in a controlled environment. You can now observe them in their natural habitat and understand him better.

It also gives you insights into whether or not specific customers talk positively or negatively about you, or not at all. It allows you to map their connections and affiliations. It allows you to understand their beliefs and behaviors better. It gives context to what they do in the tiny narrow bandwidth in which you interact with them as a business. It pulls back the curtain on what makes customers tick.

What SCRM promises to do is combine customers’ transaction data (what you already had access to through your traditional CRM system) with their social/lifestyle data (which they publish to the social web). Imagine the depth of insights this will yield.

So let’s come back to our definition problem. We left things at:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction between companies and consumers.

We need to add what we just talked about:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and a technology, designed to improve human interaction between companies and consumers by connecting customers transaction data with the lifestyle data they share online.

The “improve human interactions” piece seems redundant now. The “technology” piece might also be too complex now to rely on just one. Let’s try that again:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and technologies whose aims are to improve a company’s ability to derive insights into customer needs and behaviors by connecting their transaction data with the lifestyle data they share online.

Note that the term “transaction” here meaning more than purchases. It encompasses all interactions with the company. An email is a transaction. An order is a transaction. A customer service call is a transaction.

Depending on how well you understand the world of CRM, here is a variation of the definition:

[Social] CRM is a business function supported by a system and technologies whose aims are to improve a company’s ability to derive insights into customer needs and behaviors by adding to their transaction data the lifestyle data they share online.

Are these last two ideal definitions of SCRM? I don’t know. You tell me. All I can hope is that these two versions of the definition – still works in progress – move the ball forward a little bit, at least for now.

My other hope is that by 2013, the term SCRM becomes obsolete, and CRM has simply evolved into the richer ecosystem of data, insights and consumer interactions provided by the social web. In my mind, the sooner we stop qualifying everything in terms of “social” or not social (as if the two were still somehow separate from one another), the better things will work. For now though, the painful transition continues. Viva la revolución!

A huge thanks to Esteban Kolsky for getting things started, and for letting me rudely snatch the baton from his hand (you’re a good sport, Esteban) and to Neville Hobson and Chuck Hemann for getting the conversation started earlier this week on the Twitternets. Their wonderful blogs, respectively, are here, here, and here.

Additional reading - This short and brilliant bit from Eric Swain: http://www.social-collective.com/2010/08/10/guest-post-social-media-is-dead-long-live-social-crm/

The comment section is now yours.

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 If you haven’t already, pick up your copy of Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que/Pearson) at quality bookstores worldwide, or download the e-version to your favorite device. Don’t let the title fool you, it is a lot more about building social media programs for companies than it is about measuring ROI. Check out the reviews on Amazon.com.

Filed under: customer relationship Tagged: brandbuilder, business, Business Intelligence, Chuck Hemann, CRM, customer relationship management, definition, Esteban Kolsky, media, Neville Hobson, olivier blanchard, ROI, SCRM, social, social business, social media ROI, traditional
customer_relationship  brandbuilder  business  Business_Intelligence  Chuck_Hemann  CRM  customer_relationship_management  definition  Esteban_Kolsky  media  Neville_Hobson  olivier_blanchard  ROI  SCRM  social  social_business  social_media_ROI  traditional  from google
august 2011 by pratapdsingh
Four Essential Business Lessons from Chef Gordon Ramsay
The more I watch Gordon Ramsay‘s UK-based shows, (not just Kitchen Nightmares but The F-Word as well) the more I notice similarities between the types of problems that plague struggling restaurants and the types of problems that plague struggling businesses. The problems are always the same (and by default, the solutions as well). Here are four of the most common parallels I have found exist between what I have watched him deal with on his various shows, and what I run into in the business world:

1. Without exception, poor leadership is at the heart of every business problem.

The Navy SEALs have a saying: “There are no bad boat crews, only bad leaders.”

They’re right.

We are social animals, like bees, ants and wolves. In order to function properly in crises, we need a leader. Forget about the notion of flat organizations for a moment, and of theoretical “everyone is the boss and no one is the boss” ideals. Sure, it’s a nice thought and in some instances, that sort of perfectly flat structure can work. But eventually, circumstances will call for leadership. Why? Because for better or for worse, we are wired that way. In crises, we crave structure. Without it, armies cannot function on a battlefield, restaurant kitchens cannot function, businesses with more than 5 people cannot properly coordinate purchasing, inventory, marketing, budgets. Someone has to own certain functions. Someone has to steer the ship. Someone has to say “let’s do it” and “no, we aren’t going to do that.” Someone has to be lead the way.

Look at the US. Free country, right? And yet its citizen willfully elect leaders, give them the power to make policy decisions that will affect every aspect of their lives, from the amount of taxes they pay to what they are allowed to smoke in their own back yards. Instinctively, human beings know that without leadership, without an authority structure, there can be no organized society, no functional organization, and perhaps more importantly, no forward momentum.

Look at any stalled organization in the world, from a small mom & pop restaurant in Devonshire to a nation the size of the US: Stagnation, uncertainty, lack of direction, these always stem from an absence of clear leadership. It doesn’t matter whether the catalyst for the problem was a new restaurant opening down the street or the economy or a hurricane. Obstacles and challenges are just part of the landscape. What you do to get through (or around) them starts and ends with adequate leadership.

Watch enough Gordon Ramsay shows and you will notice a universal constant: Every restaurant in trouble has a leadership problem. The owner might be too busy trying to be everyone’s friend in the front of the restaurant to actually run his business, or the chef might be an incompetent bully. It doesn’t matter. Whatever problem exists stems from that. Dirty bathrooms, brought-in food, rancid meat in the fridge, lousy service, burnt desserts. Leadership. Or a lack thereof.  The same is true of every other type of organization and business: A boss who skirts his responsibilities and expects things to happen on their own isn’t leading. He is just playing a part.

If a new hire sucks at their job, whose fault is it? (Who hired them? Who hired the person who hired them? Who hired the person who hired the person who hired them?) If a project team is stalled and things aren’t moving forward, whose fault is it? Who owns that project? Who is holding them accountable?

Who sets the example? Who makes sure things get done? Who makes sure things are done right? Who sets expectations for the entire business? Who is in charge here?

Before an organizational dysfunction can be resolved, hierarchy has to be clearly reviewed for imbalances. Leadership at every level has to be established, starting from the top. Leadership has to be clarified, expressed and put into action. Not just once per month or quarter, but every moment of the day.

Until you fix the leadership piece, nothing else matters. You can pump funding into the organization, give them new equipment, new marketing, 25% new customers overnight, it won’t matter. 2 months from now, the same problems that existed before the upgrades will still be there, and they start at the very top. Either the wrong person is steering the ship, or that person doesn’t really have what it takes to be there. Tough decisions ahead.

Things a leader has to be able to do on their own:

- Give every action purpose.

- Articulate vision into strategy.

- Transform strategy into action.

- Get employees to completely commit to their responsibilities.

- Make employees want to give their absolute best.

- Stand for something. (It inspires loyalty.)

- Lead by example.

- When something isn’t working, step in, roll up sleeves, and fill the gap in the chain.

- Show people who don’t want to be there the door.

- Give people a reason to be proud of what they do, no matter how far they are from the C-suite.

- Choose work over golf.

- Take a pay cut before laying off good employees.

- Take responsibility for every failure.

- Understand that delegation is only a short walk from abdication.

- Give truth a platform, no matter how inconvenient it may be.

A leader in denial isn’t a leader. He’s a drunk driver pretending to be sober, driving his car and everyone in it into a ditch.

2. Passion is the fuel of excellence. Whether tanks run on full or on empty, this is the stuff that’s in them.

Fuck “motivation.” Motivation comes and goes. I can motivate a team of salespeople with a cash bonus. I can motivate a bored subordinate with the threat of being demoted or fired. I can motivate someone with a kind word or a pat on the shoulder. Sure, motivation is needed at regular intervals, but at some point, if people don’t learn to motivate themselves, “motivating” people in an organization becomes a full time job.

Those inspirational posters and smarmy motivational calendars with their quotes of the day, rip them down, walk out into the parking lot and set them on fire. They’re shit. Not only do you not need them, they’re holding you back. They’re teaching you that motivation comes from cliché wisdom and that it can be purchased like a get well card. If you have passion for what you do, you don’t need someone to motivate you. The minute you start believing it, the minute you start putting your faith in “inspirational” products (and that is precisely what they are), is the moment you decide to let go of your own future.

I was asked not long ago to give a motivational speech to a team of executives. The mere notion of this blew my mind. A motivational speech? Me? It isn’t what I do. And to deliver this “speech” to people who make an incredibly good living working for a successful company when millions of people can’t find jobs seemed all the more absurd. I told the event manager that I had no idea what to say to these people, that I am not a motivational speaker, that he had the wrong guy. But the more he explained the predicament they were in, the more I felt like I needed to find some way to help them, even if it meant finding a way to “inspire” them.

This was new territory for me. My first instinct was to drag them by the ear to a soup kitchen or a social services office and tell them to take a good look, then thank their lucky stars that they had the option of needing someone to help them become motivated. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Why did these “leaders” need someone to infuse them with motivation? It pissed me off. Fortunately for everyone, I got over it.

Long story short, I didn’t give them a motivational speech. Instead, I taught them how to do stuff. I laid out some of the puzzle pieces for them and, together, we put them together. Then I showed them how to finish the puzzle on their own. I gave them something to do and gave them a reason to do it. I removed “motivation” from the equation completely. The motivation came from doing things that yielded results. In other words, we did the work that needed to be done.

The point being this: If I have to motivate someone to do their job every day, why are they here to begin with? Teach someone how to make a living doing what they love (or to give them a reason to love what they do for a living) and you will never have to motivate them again. Ever.

Watch enough Gordon Ramsay shows, and you will start to notice that many restaurateurs in trouble suffer from a certain form of defeatism and apathy. Sooner or later, if Gordon asks them the most pitiful question in his repertoire – “what happened to you?” – they will admit that they have “lost their passion.” They’ve gotten so caught up in the details, in the negatives, in the seemingly challenges of their profession that they have forgotten how to love it. If he can reignite that passion, they stand a fighting chance. If he can’t, they’re done. The restaurant won’t survive.

There is no gray area here. Passion vs. no passion. Success vs. no success. (And by ‘success’ I don’t just mean a fat paycheck.) It isn’t rocket science. The two are indivisible. The more child-like and visceral the passion, the higher the octane, the farther it will drive you, your project, your idea, your company.

There’s an honest conversation that needs to happen between a boss and an “unmotivated” employee (or between a consultant and a client), and it centers around passion. The question is this: Why are you here? ”The pay is good” is an honest answer, but it is not a good answer. Same with “beats the hell out of working at Orange Julius” and “Too many content strategists and social media gurus in the marketplace already.”

Imagine asking your spouse “do you love me?” and having her answer “you make a good living, I feel financially secure, and I like living in our house.” Good luck building something worthwhile out of that. It isn’t so different in business.

If you don’t understand what someone … [more]
leadership  brandbuilder  business  olivier_blanchard  marketing  CEO  reality  competence  honesty  passion  gordon_ramsay  kitchen_nightmares  Navy_SEAL  motivation  excellence  excuses  facts  from google
august 2011 by pratapdsingh
The basics of social media measurement for business.
Today’s article was prompted by The Now Revolution co-author Jay Baer’s blog post entitled The 6 Step Process for Measuring Social Media. Consider the following 5 sections a complement to the social media measurement discussion in the business world. Bookmark it, pass it on, and feel free to ask questions in the comment area if something isn’t clear.

Let me explain, for anyone who is still confused about it, how to properly think about the integration of social media measurement into business measurement. This applies to the way social media measurement is applied to every business activity social media touches,  from short-term product awareness campaigns to long term customer retention programs.

To make things simple, I will make use of a few diagrams to illustrate key concepts everyone who touches social media in the business world absolutely needs to understand.

Ready? Here we go:

1. Measuring Social Media: Activity and outcomes.

The above image shows the relationship between an activity and the measurable impact of that activity on social media channels. The ripples represent every type of outcome – or effect – produced by that activity, which can be measured by observing, then quantifying certain key behaviors on social media channels. A few examples:

Retweets
Likes
Follows
Shares
Comments
Mentions
Sentiment

When social media “experts” and digital agencies that provide social media services talk about social media measurement, this is what they are talking about.

So far so good. The trick is to not stop there.

2. Measuring Social Media: Activity and outcomes beyond social media channels

Now that we have looked at basic “social media measurement,” let us look at it side-by-side with business measurement – that is to say, with metrics that existed long before social media ever came on the scene. A few examples:

Net new customers
Changes in buy rate
Loyalty metrics
Word of mouth
New product sales
Customer satisfaction
Increased operational efficiency
New online orders
Traffic to brick & mortar stores
R.O.I. (you knew it was coming.)

In other words, the types of metrics that indicate to a business unit or executive team whether or not the activities they have funded and are currently managing are having an effect on the business. These types of metrics are represented in the above diagram by the black ripples.

To some extent, you can also include a sub-category of metrics not directly related to business measurement but that also exist outside of the realm of social media measurement. These types of metrics typically relate to other types of marketing & communications media such as print, TV, radio and even the traditional web. A few examples:

Impressions
Unique visitors
Bounce rate
Cost Per Impression (CPI)

These types of metrics, for the sake of this post – which aims to clarify the difference between social media measurement and social media measurement within the broader context of business measurement – would also be represented by some of the black ripples in the above diagram.

3. Understanding that “measuring social media” is a terribly limited digital play.

 If you remember only one thing from this article, let it be this: Only measuring “social media” metrics, as if in a vacuum, leads absolutely nowhere. Sure, if your objective is to build a “personal brand,” boost your “influence” rankings in order to score more goodies from buzz marketing firms that do “blogger outreach,” then those social media metrics are everything. Chasing those followers, collecting likes and retweets, meeting that 500 comments quota of comments on Quora every day, and religiously checking your Klout score and Twittergrader ranking every twenty minutes is your life.

But if you are a business, that is to say, a company with employees, products, payroll, a receptionist and a parking lot, the role that social media measurement plays in your universe is not exactly the same as that of a semi-professional blogger trying to tweak their SEO and game blogger outreach programs. These two universes are completely different. Their objectives are completely different. Their relationships with measurement are completely different.

Understanding this is critical. Bloggers with no real business management experience tend to have a very difficult time bridging the strategic gap between their limited digital endeavors and the operational needs and wants of organizations whose KPIs are not rooted in Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of social media “experts” and “gurus” – being first and foremost bloggers with experience in navigating affiliate marketing programs, and a commensurate focus on SEO and social media “influence” gaming models in support of their “personal brand” – tend to see the world through that specific prism. The problem however is this: Their focus on social media measurement may be spot on when advising other would-be bloggers, but it is completely off target when advising business clients whose business models are not entirely based on selling advertising on a website and scoring goodies from advertisers in exchange for positive reviews and buzz.

In other words, when social media “experts” keep telling you how to “properly” measure social media – as if your measurement software didn’t already do this for you automatically – consider this an indication that they have absolutely nothing else to talk about when it comes to social media integration into your business. Their understanding of social media activity and measurement is entirely founded on their own experience as a blogger, and not – unfortunately – on the experience of the business managers they aim to advise, whose objectives and targets have little to do with how many fans and followers and likes they manage to collect from month to month.

One of my biggest areas of frustration for the last few years – and one of the principal reasons why social media has been so poorly integrated into the business world until now – has been the ease with which bloggers with little to no business management experience have hijacked the social media “thought leadership” world. Many of them would not be qualified to run an IT department for the average medium-sized business, much less help direct the strategy of a digital marketing department, customer loyalty program or business development group. Their understanding of the most basic, rudimentary business principles (like R.O.I.) is as painfully lacking as their dangerous lack of practical operational experience – in change management, for example – without which social media theory cannot be aptly put into practice. Yet here we are, or rather here companies are – many of which are listed in the Fortune 500, listening to bad advice from the most inexperienced business “strategists” on the planet, and trying to apply it – in vain – to their businesses.

If you are still wondering why your social media program is not bearing fruit, or if you are still confused by social media measurement, this is the reason why.

A metaphor lost in a hyperbole.

The tragic irony of the general state of confusion created by this army of so-called experts is that in spite of everything, social media measurement is not complicated. If you can type a password into a box, navigate a multiple-choice questionnaire and use your mouse to click on a “generate report” button, you too can measure social media. All you need is the right piece of measurement software, an internet connection and a pulse. You don’t even need to know how to send a tweet to do it.

I am not kidding. A monkey could do this.

The sooner business managers, company executives and agency principals stop listening to social media douchebags, the faster social media will be integrated (smoothly and effectively) into everyone’s business models. Don’t limit yourself to measuring social media. Stop listening to business advice from bloggers with no business experience. And don’t buy into the notion that because social media is new and digital, it is complicated. Social media is easy. Social media measurement – by itself – is easy. It takes work and diligence and clear vision, but all in all, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out.

4. Once you get rid of the monkey noises, you make room for the simplicity of the (social) business measurement model.

The above diagram illustrates both the measurable social media outcomes (in orange) and the measurable business outcomes (in black), based on an activity (the solid orange ball). We have covered this earlier in this article. By now, you should understand two key principles:

1. Measuring only social media outcomes (or measuring them separately from business outcomes) won’t get you very far. It’s what you do your first month. Then what?

2. Only by establishing a relationship between social media metrics and business metrics will you be able to gauge both the impact and value (including but not limited to R.O.I.) of social media on your campaigns, programs and overall business.

How you connect social media outcomes/metrics to business outcomes/metrics is covered elsewhere on this blog and of course in the Social Media ROI book, but if this diagram doesn’t confuse you, try to conceptualize the relationship between social media outcomes with business outcomes by observing the intersect points between the orange ripples and black ripples. (See above diagram.) Your investigation of the correlation between the two will always begin there.

5. One final tip: Turning your integrated measurement model into a social media tactical plan.

These diagrams only serve to illustrate how you should think about social media measurement in conjunction with business measurement. That’s it. But if you take a step back and look at the interaction between social media outcomes (measurable behaviors in social media channels resulting from a … [more]
conference  social_media  advertising  agency  blog  book  brandbuilder  business  business_development  client  digital  integration  marketing  Mashable  measurement  media  olivier_blanchard  R.O.I.  ROI  social_business  social_media_day  strategy  web  from google
may 2011 by pratapdsingh
Social Media For Business: Taking Your Program Beyond Marketing Campaigns.
I posted a different version of this post a few months ago, but it’s time to bring it back up in case you, your client or your boss missed it.

First things first: Pushing your marketing campaign through social media channels isn’t “social.” It’s marketing. Nothing has changed.

Your marketing department or agency might be telling you that you have a social media program, but you don’t. You might be paying for “social,” but that isn’t what you are getting for your money. What is really happening is this: You are buying the same digital marketing campaigns you were buying five years ago, except now, they also include Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

You can call it “social” all you want, but it isn’t. Let me illustrate what I mean:

A marketing campaign not using social media

This (above) is a typical example of what happens in the course of a successful marketing, PR or advertising campaign. Best case scenario: You spend money on the campaign, the campaign generates attention while it is funded, people buy some of your stuff, and when the money runs out, things go back to where they were before the campaign started.

Now let me show you what happens when you incorporate social media into the same campaign mechanism. Ready? This is going to blow your mind. Here we go:

A marketing campaign using social media

Pretty wild, huh?

If you didn’t notice the subtle sleight of hand, let me illustrate the concept slightly differently. Ready?

Your campaign without social media:

And now the same campaign with social media:

See what happened here? Totally different thing, right? (Thanks to Daniel Agee for the clever visual subterfuge. Inserting a human head onto my body was pretty impressive photoshop mastery.)

So… right. In the end, it is exactly the same thing, just wrapped in a different skin.

If you are using social media channels for “marketing” and mostly for campaigns, no wonder you aren’t getting any concrete results: You are doing the same old stuff that already was working marginally well five years ago, only it has been repackaged to sound hip with the times and include a few more channels. That’s it. The only problem is this: You aren’t doing “social.” You are still basically just creating content, pushing it out to potential customers, and hoping they will bite.

And that is why you are getting nowhere in social media, no matter how many people click “follow” or “like” on your stuff.

Fact: Calling “marketing” by another name or adding “social media” to it won’t change what it is: Marketing. Just because your ad agency’s digital department has rebranded itself a “social media” department doesn’t mean anything has changed or improved. Same products and services, different skin. That’s it. Don’t limit yourself to that. If you want to make social media work for your organization, think beyond marketing. Think beyond campaigns. See the whole field.

By the way, if you are gauging success by measuring retweets, followers, shares and “likes,” I guess you also gauge success by measuring website hits, right? Same deal. Same ridiculous, empty, diversionary metrics that mean absolutely nothing. People clicking on buttons on the internet is about as valuable to your business as counting how many cars drive by your office every day.

Want to see the difference between a company that takes its social media program seriously versus one that only uses social media for marketing campaigns?

Here is what a business that uses social media for marketing looks like:

Each one of those arrows represents a campaign. If you think of campaigns as microcycles of spend, attention and impact, the above diagram shows six subsequent campaigns and their long term impact on business growth. The orange line above the campaign microcycles illustrates temporary jumps in sales or business growth, which tend to wane between campaigns but remain relatively flat over time. This line shows anywhere between 0% to 10% annual growth.

Now let’s look at companies using social media more holistically:

Note that in the above example, social media is used for more than just campaigns. The business is using social media not only to acquire new customers or trigger a spike in business, but to retain customers as well, to develop them into active community participants, loyal repeat customers, thereby increasing their buy rate, transaction yield, and their reach into lateral networks through organic word of mouth. In this model, campaigns are merely marketing microcycles of attention in a larger growth strategy focusing on building customer relationships.

Another way to look at the process is this:

If you aren’t familiar with plateaus, the stair-like portion of the diagram illustrates what role the campaigns play in a model where social media is integrated into a business in every department: customer service, technical support, community management, product management, PR, HR, R&D, etc.

In this model, campaigns drive attention and participation, just as before. Social media activity, through community management, online customer service, customer engagement and other truly social modes of social communications help maintain (even stabilize) customer participation not only in dialog but in transactions as well. Social communications become the answer to the “now what?” question asked in the first two diagrams of this post: Use each campaign to get you to the next level of attention and activity, and instead of letting it all die back down once the campaign is over, maintain it through engagement. Once things settle at that level, get to the next plateau using another campaign.

There’s a lot more to explain, but that would make for a very long blog post. I hope this was helpful.

Cheers,

Olivier

 

 

 

 

Pre-order Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech/Pearson) on Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com, or recommend it to someone today.

Filed under: account planning, brand strategy, brandbuilder, building value, business, business thinkers, smart business, Social Business, Social Communications, social media, social network Tagged: brandbuilder, campaign, marketing, olivier blanchard, program, Red Chair Group, social business, social media
account_planning  brand_strategy  brandbuilder  building_value  business  business_thinkers  smart_business  Social_Business  Social_Communications  social_media  social_network  campaign  marketing  olivier_blanchard  program  Red_Chair_Group  from google
january 2011 by pratapdsingh
Stating the obvious:
Translation: "don't drink the water"

If I were to start a social media blog today, I would call it simply “Stating The Obvious.” The types of topics we would cover would fall along the lines of:

1. “Social” is something you are, not something you do. If your company culture doesn’t focus on building relationships with your customers, then chances are that you won’t use social media to do it either. The “media” doesn’t dictate how social a company is or isn’t. It simply enhances its ability to be a social business – if in fact it is – or illustrates the extent to which it isn’t.

2. You cannot outsource customer relationships to an agency. Can you outsource your presence at Thanksgiving dinner to an agency? Do you send your PR team to social events and parties when you have better things to do than attend? Social media isn’t any different. Why? Because it is “social media,” not “delegation media” or “pretend media”. Research and intelligence, sure. That can be outsourced. Creative? That too. Implementing technologies and helping you with strategy? You bet. Marketing, PR and advertising? Of course. But the relationship part: Shaking hands, being there when customers ask your for help, participating in conversations, making them feel at home when they do business with you, none of these can be outsourced.

3. A blog is just a blog. It isn’t a magical trust and influence publishing converter for the web. Publishing propaganda or marketing content is just that, regardless of the publishing platform. Just because you publish marketing content on a blog doesn’t mean it magically morphs into something “authentic” that “engaged customers” will spread through “word of mouth.”

4. Marketing on social media channels isn’t “social.” It is just marketing. Just as publishing marketing content on a blog doesn’t make marketing content any less manufactured and biased, publishing content on social media channels isn’t “social.” Every time I hear a company proudly state that they have a social media program when in fact, all they have is a marketing program that uses social media channels, I feel sorry for its stakeholders and customers. This is one of two things: Delusion or spin. And by “spin,” I mean a lie. If you are a professional in this space, either build a real social media program – one that is actually social – or get out of the way because those of us on a mission to do it right are coming in hot.

5. Transparency isn’t just a word. If you don’t intend to practice it, don’t preach it. Transparency isn’t a flag you get to wave around only when it is convenient. Disclosure also shouldn’t be something your legal department needs to brief you about. You already know what’s right. And by “right,” I don’t just mean “ethical” or what you can get away with. I mean “right.” Do that. Treat your customers with respect and treat your program on foundations of integrity and professional pride.

6. Change management, not social media tools and platforms, is at the crux of social media program development. Because social is something you are, not something you do, most organizations cannot succeed in the social space by changing what they do and not who they are. A Director of Social Media can only do so much. “Social” speaks at least as much to your company’s DNA as it does to its business practices. If you don’t really care about your customers, social media won’t magically transform you into someone who does. You have to want to become this type of individual, and for your organization as a whole to follow suit, in order for the socialization of your business to be successful.

7. People are more important than technology. Hire people who care about other people. If you hire and promote assholes, your company will be full of assholes. It doesn’t matter how much Twitter and Facebook you add to your company’s communications or how many awesome monitoring dashboards you buy if you are a company of assholes.  Guess what: An asshole on social media is still an asshole. Start with your people, not your tools. They are what makes social either work or fail.

8. Social media should not be managed by Marketing anymore than your phones should be managed by Sales. 41% of social media directors are marketing professionals while only 1% are customer service professionals. Would you care to guess as to why it is that only 1% of social media programs seem to be yielding results while the rest are just making noise and turning anecdotal BS into “case studies?” (See item 9 for further insights into this.)

9. Shut up and listen. Everywhere I look, I see companies spending a good deal of their time (and budgets) focusing on producing content, blog posts, social media press releases, tweets, updates, events, and looking to “content strategy” to make sure it all fits smoothly together. That’s nice. Too bad they don’t spend at least as much time thinking about their listening strategy. Maybe they would actually get somewhere if they did. Listen to your customers. Listen to your competitors’ customers. Everything companies need to know is passing them by because they are too busy talking. Shut up, already. Nobody really cares what you have to say, and if they do, they don’t need to hear it all day long. Really. Just make great products, consistently create exceptional experiences for customers, and focus every bit of energy in making sure no customer of yours is ever disappointed, and you’ll be good to go. If your communications serve your marketing department more than they serve your customers, you are doing it wrong.

10. Any consultant, “thought leader,” agency or partner who doesn’t tell you these things isn’t fit to be consulted on the subject. Do big promises, miracle cures and fairy tales sound like reality to you? “If you buy X, your business will suddenly grow and improve?” Really? Does “we have the best secret formula” sound legitimate to you? It doesn’t matter where your new “advisors” have worked, who they have worked with or how many people follow them on Twitter.  Of course they are all going to have great stories to tell. It’s called “marketing.” Ever heard of it?

Or maybe I would call that blog “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Alive and well in 2010.”

Filed under: account planning, smart business, Social Business, Social Communications, social media, social networking Tagged: advertising, agency, brandbuilder, customers, guru, listen, marketing, olivier blanchard, pr, sales, social business, social media
account_planning  smart_business  Social_Business  Social_Communications  social_media  social_networking  advertising  agency  brandbuilder  customers  guru  listen  marketing  olivier_blanchard  pr  sales  from google
november 2010 by pratapdsingh
Why your social media marketing campaigns aren’t working.
Tip: Pushing your marketing campaign through social media channels isn’t “social.” It’s marketing. Nothing has changed.

Your marketing department or agency might be telling you that you have a social media program, but you don’t. You might be paying for “social,” but that isn’t what you are getting for your money. What is really happening is this: You are buying the same digital marketing campaigns you were buying five years ago, except now, they also include Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

You can call it “social” all you want, but it isn’t.

Want to know what else? This:

This (above) is a typical example of what happens in the course of a successful marketing, PR or advertising campaign. Best case scenario: You spend money on the campaign, the campaign generates attention while it is funded, people buy some of your stuff, and when the money runs out, things go back to where they were before the campaign started.

Now let me show you what happens when you incorporate social media into the same campaign mechanism. Ready? This is going to blow your mind. Here we go. A marketing campaign using social media:

Pretty wild, huh?

If you didn’t notice the subtle sleight of hand, let me illustrate the concept slightly differently. Ready?

Your campaign without social media:

And now the same campaign with social media:

See what happened here? Totally different thing, right? (Thanks to Daniel Agee for the clever visual subterfuge. Inserting a human head onto my body was pretty impressive photoshop mastery.)

So… right. In the end, it is exactly the same thing, just wrapped in a different skin.

If you are using social media channels for “marketing” and mostly for campaigns, no wonder you aren’t getting any concrete results: You are doing the same old stuff that already wasn’t working all that well five years ago, only it has been repackaged to sound hip with the times and include a few more channels. That’s it. The only problem is this: You aren’t doing “social.” You are still basically just creating content, pushing it out to potential customers, and hoping they will bite.

And that is why you are getting nowhere in social media, no matter how many people click “follow” or “like” on your stuff.

By the way, if you are gauging success by measuring retweets, followers, shares and “likes,” I guess you also gauge success by measuring website hits, right? Same deal. Same ridiculous, empty, diversionary metrics that mean absolutely nothing. People clicking on buttons on the internet is about as valuable to your business as counting how many cars drive by your office every day.

Want to see the difference between a company that takes its social media program seriously versus one that only uses social media for marketing campaigns?

Here is what a business that uses social media for marketing looks like:

Each one of those arrows represents a campaign. If you think of campaigns as microcycles of spend, attention and impact, the above diagram shows six subsequent campaigns and their long term impact on business growth. The orange line above the campaign microcycles illustrates temporary jumps in sales or business growth, which tend to wane between campaigns but remain relatively flat over time. This line shows anywhere between 0% to 10% annual growth.

Now let’s look at companies using social media more holistically:

Note that in the above example, social media is used for more than just campaigns. The business is using social media not only to acquire new customers or trigger a spike in business, but to retain customers as well, to develop them into active community participants, loyal repeat customers, thereby increasing their buy rate, transaction yield, and their reach into lateral networks through organic word of mouth. In this model, campaigns are merely marketing microcycles of attention in a larger growth strategy focusing on building customer relationships.

Another way to look at the process is this:

If you aren’t familiar with plateaus, the stair-like portion of the diagram illustrates what role the campaigns play in a model where social media is integrated into a business in every department: customer service, technical support, community management, product management, PR, HR, R&D, etc.

In this model, campaigns drive attention and participation, just as before. Social media activity, through community management, online customer service, customer engagement and other truly social modes of social communications help maintain (even stabilize) customer participation not only in dialog but in transactions as well. Social communications become the answer to the “now what?” question asked in the first two diagrams of this post: Use each campaign to get you to the next level of attention and activity, and instead of letting it all die back down once the campaign is over, maintain it through engagement. Once things settle at that level, get to the next plateau using another campaign.

This really isn’t rocket science.

If you want results, think. Use your head. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results each time. Calling “marketing” by another name or adding “social media” to it won’t change what it is: Marketing. Just because your ad agency’s digital department has rebranded itself a “social media” department doesn’t mean anything has changed or improved. Same products and services, different skin. That’s it.

If you don’t believe me, that’s fine. Just keep pushing marketing content out through social media channels and see where that gets you. As long as those budget dollars keep coming, digital marketing companies will eagerly sell you whatever services you want.

Don’t be a sucker. Focus on results, not buzzwords and BS.

PS: Some of this stuff is covered in my upcoming book – “Social Media R.O.I.” available for pre-order on Amazon:

Filed under: account planning, adaptation, advertising, smart business, Social Business, Social Communications, social media Tagged: brandbuilder, olivier blanchard, social media
account_planning  adaptation  advertising  smart_business  Social_Business  Social_Communications  social_media  brandbuilder  olivier_blanchard  from google
october 2010 by pratapdsingh
What the McDonald’s social media team got wrong about Foursquare, Social Media strategy, measurement, and ethical reporting.
Alternate title:

McFib?
Thanks to Mike Zavarello (@brightmatrix) for the #McFib suggestion. I wish I had thought of that.

Okay. This is not going to be a kind, warm and fuzzy post. Before I start, let me say this: I would much rather have a brilliant Social Media case study to champion. A story about a company doing something right, with data to back up its results, clean metrics to boot, and flawless analysis from start to finish. Wieden + Kennedy’s Old Spice campaign will soon be the subject of such a post, when more sales numbers are made available. But as things stand, this post is not going to be about a company that got things right.

What we are going to talk about today is either a case study in either poor journalism (Mashable reported on the story without questioning and verifying the math), or the origin of questionable claims by a McDonald’s representative about a Foursquare promotion’s alleged outcome. I don’t want to speak ill of the company (I actually like McDonald’s), but I can’t not bring this up.

(UPDATE: 19 September 2010) Look for an update to this story at the end of the post.

Here is how the story begins (via Mashable):

At the Mobile Social Communications conference yesterday, [Rick] Wion shared that McDonald’s was able to increase foot traffic to stores by 33% in one day with a little Foursquare ingenuity. McDonald’s total cost for the successful campaign was a measly $1,000.

Econsultancy reports that McDonald’s, with Wion driving campaign direction and strategy, opted to try and take advantage of Foursquare Day (4/16) to bring in more business. The company used 100 randomly awarded $5 and $10 giftcards as checkin bait to lure in potential diners. The bait also worked to attract the media’s attention and resulted in more than 50 articles covering McDonald’s Foursquare special.

The campaign worked in both digital and real world capacities. Patrons flocked to McDonald’s restaurants for the chance to win giftcards in exchange for checkins, and 600,000 online denizens opted to follow and fan the brand on social media sites.

The Econsultancy piece is here. Sounds great, right? Here is what you just heard: McDonald’s spent $1,000 on a campaign, leveraged Foursquare to get people in the door, and increased foot traffic by 33%, resulting in some unknown but probably decent spike in business (sales.) Except no. That isn’t what happened. There’s also this:

Of course, the metric here was checkins (not sales), and there were likely several other factors contributing to the campaign’s success, but it’s still a story that many an agency should pay heed to.

Let me quote that again, in case you missed it:

“The metric here was checkins (not sales).” Or actual foot traffic, apparently.

Oh. Take the pig off the spit – the celebration might be a little premature. Right idea, wrong execution, and horrendous analysis. Let me explain.

1. In spite of its “conclusion,” did McDonald’s measure actual foot traffic?

This was a test. The premise was this: If we spend $1,000 on a Social Media promotion using Foursquare, can we get more people in stores? The most important metric to measure then, both as a baseline and an ultimate outcome would be what?

Foot traffic. Actual foot traffic. As in… someone with a clicker standing at the door, a laser in the door way recording how many times someone passes through it, or a sensor in the door recording how many times it opens and closes. Unfortunately, unless Mashable forgot to mention it, McDonald’s did not actually measure foot traffic.

Wait… what?

That’s right: Though Rick Wion claims to have increased foot traffic by 33%, nowhere does the piece mention that McDonald’s actually measured foot traffic. The only metric mentioned: Foursquare Check-ins.

The one thing McDonald’s should have measured, the very metric Rick Wion is reporting jumped by 33% in one day, is the one metric that may not in fact have been measured at all.

Here is how you measure deltas/changes in foot traffic:

1. Lock in your baseline (the average daily foot traffic before the campaign).

2. Measure average daily foot traffic during your campaign.

3. Compare the two.

What you measure are actual people actually walking into actual stores, not people checking-in from their phones three blocks away or clicking a “like” button on Facebook from their desk, or clicking “follow” on their twitterberry. You measure people in the stores.

If McDonald’s Wion wants to report on a win (as well he should), it should be this: “With only $1,000 investment, we increased Foursquare check-ins by x%.” That is what actually happened. This is the extent of a win. It isn’t as sexy as claiming a 33% increase in foot traffic, but it’s a start. A proof of concept. Something McDonald’s can now build on and expand.

I now leave Ronald McDonald’s Social Media team and Rick Wion to explain how exactly how check-ins conveniently transformed themselves into foot traffic.

2. Metrics are not randomly interchangeable:

Here’s a simple, basic, no BS fact of Social Media performance measurement: A Foursquare check-in is not foot traffic. Foot traffic is not a Foursquare check-in. Here is the difference between the two:

- Foot traffic is someone coming into your store.

- A Foursquare check-in is someone within five city blocks of your store pushing a button on their phone.

Case in point:

@lizy_dee: I just checked in to some McDonalds up the road while I’m sitting on my couch at home.. #fail

Likewise, mentions are not sales, and new followers aren’t new customers. Metrics are not randomly interchangeable. Metrics are specific. Don’t measure one thing and magically turn it into another to embellish your quarterly report and get some media attention.

3. Contests are not strategies. People will do anything for free stuff and then move on:

“Do this and you might win something. One day only!” Here, McDonald’s has at its disposal the combined power of the Social Web and mobile phones, with a potential reach of hundreds of millions of people. It has a chance to increase net new customers, increase customer loyalty, earn mind-share, impact preferences and customer habits in the long term… But no. McDonald’s big Social Media idea was to attach the typical one-day-only contest carrot – which requires neither Foursquare nor Social Media of any sort – to get people into its stores for one day (which it may not have actually accomplished since it measured the wrong thing).

I will, however, grant McDonald’s Wion this: His experiment proved that promotions in which people might win free stuff if they push on a button will make some of them push the button. Unfortunately, we already knew that. We can get lab rats to do it as well, even without a social media strategist.

The fact is that tying Foursquare check-ins to a promotion doesn’t prove that Foursquare will work for you, or that you know how to leverage it yet. The Foursquare check-in feature is a button people push to get their prize, not the reason why they came to your store. Let me illustrate:

Replace the term “Foursquare check-in” with “funny hat”.

If your promotion had asked people to wear a funny hat to your stores for a chance to win a gift card, would you be saying that funny hats helped you generate 33% in additional foot traffic? Here’s an example:

At the Mobile Social Communications conference yesterday, [Rick] Wion shared that McDonald’s was able to increase foot traffic to stores by 33% in one day with a little funny hat ingenuity. McDonald’s total cost for the successful campaign was a measly $1,000.

The company used 100 randomly awarded $5 and $10 giftcards as checkin bait to lure in potential diners. The bait also worked to attract the media’s attention and resulted in more than 50 articles covering McDonald’s funny hat special.

Patrons flocked to McDonald’s restaurants for the chance to win giftcards in exchange for wearing funny hats.

See what I mean? What’s your Foursquare strategy again? Is it the same as your funny hat strategy or your pink tie strategy or your flip-flop strategy?

Here’s a little dose of reality: This was a promotion just like every other promotion before it. Push the button we ask you to push, give us the magic password, and maybe win something. Foursquare was an accessory, not the catalyst. Even if McDonald’s had actually seen a 33% increase in visits to their restaurants on that day, the gift card promotion, not Foursquare, got people to participate.

4. “It’s still a story that many an agency should pay heed to.” Um, no. Absolutely not.

Unless what you want to do is teach agencies that not measuring relevant campaign outcomes, mistaking one metric for another, making up numbers entirely, not understanding basic Social Media marketing strategy and having no clue how to tie campaign metrics to business metrics is the right path.

There is already plenty of that going on on. We need less of it, not more.

5. Take your case studies seriously: McDonald’s should have measured conversions. Here’s how to do it:

What Rick Wion and his team should have done:

600,000 new fans and followers? That’s “Reach.” That’s your starting point. Here’s your conversion chart:

Reach → Response → Visits → Foursquare Check-ins → Transactions → Revenue (then repeat)

Don’t know how to put these things together? It’s simple:

Reach, we’ve already touched on.

Responses can be anything from RSVPs on Facebook, to registrations or sign-ups on a microsite, to mentions to RTs on Twitter.

Visits are your first real measurable conversion. You actually have to count visitors. Not estimate but count. If the suggestions I made earlier in the post are not feasible, look into software that will allow you to count visitors by analyzing your CCTV feeds. (Your surveillance cameras capture foot traffic in and out of the store, and to the cash register. Put them to good use.)

… [more]
account_planning  ROI  Social_Communications  social_media  brandbuilder  foot_traffic  foursquare  Mashable  McDonald's  measurement  metric  olivier_blanchard  R.O.I.  revenue  Rick_Wion  success  transactions  from google
september 2010 by pratapdsingh
Social Media Management 101 – Cardinal Roles, Management Roles, and basic Social Business organizational structure – Part 2
Part 2. (Read Part 1 here.)

2. Social Media “management” is not about Social Media as much as it is about business functions.

Let’s look at the enterprise space (large companies. Say, a Fortune 1000.) Consider this. What makes more sense:

a) Having a Social Media/blogger “manager” who assists PR, advertising, marketing, HR, business intelligence and other departments by managing several corporate accounts, or…

b) Having a PR department that uses Social Media, a Customer Service department that uses Social Media, an online reputation and crisis management team that uses Social Media, a team of product managers using Social Media, (and so on) all connected through a collaboration hub and supervised by a Social Communications oversight role?

If the answer isn’t clear to you, don’t sweat it. Don’t think about it in terms of ‘Social Media.’ Think about it in terms of business objectives: Why do we need to be using Social Media today?

Because it’s the cool thing to do? No.

Because my PR department needs to work on reaching more people and making their message stick better? Yes.

Because my Customer Service Department is looking for ways to reduce operational costs and cut ticket times in half? Yes. Because real-time digital customer service improves our brand’s image? Yes. (We have the sentiment and loyalty data to prove it.)

Because our crisis management team can now manage coordinated attacks on our brand by activist groups without these ‘campaigns’ turning into PR nightmares? Yes.

Because our product management teams can now get immediate feedback from the field when it comes to quality, features, promotions and any other activity we invest in? Yes.

So what does this mean? Simple. It means this: Social Media “management” when it comes to customer/public facing roles, is about expanding the reach of specific business functions, not just creating new or parallel functions. Here is what I mean:

3. What your Social Media “management” structure should look like in terms of customer/public facing functions.

New roles:

Community Manager – This person is often the face and voice of the organization across Social Media channels. Unlike the other new role (blogger), this is a full time position. For excellent insights into community management, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with Amber Naslund’s blog. As Radian 6′s Director of Community, she knows a thing or two about this type of role and has written extensively on the subject.

Blogger – Self explanatory. This person creates content, manages blogs, responds to comments, comments on other blogs, etc. This could be a full time role. It could also be a part time role for existing managers across a breadth of departments. (The CMO could be a blogger. The Customer Service team could all participate in the company’s blogging effort. Etc.)

Monitoring – Though in most instances, monitoring of Social Media channels is the responsibility of individual roles (see below), monitoring can be a full time job in and of itself. This type of role can serve as a business intelligence hub that feeds individual business units by capturing data and information, triaging it, compartmentalizing it, and then sharing it as packets with specific departments. Also see Market Research/Business Intelligence below.

Existing roles:

Public Relations/Investor relations - In addition to traditional channels, these two roles (often intertwined) can now leverage digital social networks to a) extend their reach, b) build trust with their audience, c) answer questions as needed (become a resource), and d) conduct its own market research.

Product Management/Brand Management/Event Management - These three distinct yet similar types of roles now find their capabilities enhanced by the Social Web: a) Direct interactions with customers, users and attendees. b) Immediate feedback on ideas, product releases, quality control, promotions. c) Provide additional value to the public through knowledge, insight, tips, activities, news, special events, etc. d) Leverage word-of-mouth to accelerate discovery, preference, and ultimately purchases of a product, increased loyalty for a brand, and broader attendance/participation at an event.

Customer Service – Some people prefer to call the 1-800-IhateU line. For everyone else, Social Media might be a better fix. Consider the advantages:

a) A customer service representative can only deal with one customer at a time via telephone. If they are talking to one person, the others have to be helped by someone else or be on hold. This process is long, ineffective, and frustrating. Customers don’t like it, and the cost to Customer Service departments is so great that most are now outsourced. Unfortunately, we all know how well that works. Via Social Networks, a Customer Service rep can help more than one person at a time. Already, you can see an improvement in efficiency. In addition, customers don’t have to be put on hold: While the CSR looks into their problem, the customer can go make himself a sandwich, watch a little TV, answer their phone, get back to work, and check again in a few minutes. It is not an inconvenience or a time suck. On the company end of things, this could translate not only into faster resolution times, higher customer satisfaction, positive WOM and good press, but also very real savings in terms of operational costs.

b) Customer Service can now answer questions and address problems even if not contacted directly. By monitoring keywords across Social Networks, a CSR can spot a person in need of help and come to their rescue without having to be prompted by a direct question. Intelligent companies already use this proactive methodology to a) infuse their growing social capital with good will, and b) turn their Customer Service departments from cost centers into profit centers by using them as lead generation engines.

There is more to all this, but we will leave it at these two items for now.

Human Resources – You can sift through hundreds (or thousands) of resumes per week, or you can leverage your own social and peer networks to identify, pre-qualify and reach out to the best candidates for a new position. Ask yourself this: As a recruiting manager, would you rather hire a complete stranger, or would you rather hire someone who comes recommended by four or five people you know and trust?

Also, when employees threaten to become a liability to the company through their online activity, does your organization have a plan? Do you summarily terminate the employee, or do you have a tiered educational process in place to help them (and your organization) stay out of trouble? Does your organization have a Social Media ethics/best practices/good behavior training program for employees? Are your guidelines and policies up to date? Does your intranet provide Social Media usage resources for employees? Not yet? This is a whole new field for HR to manage, and one in sore need of immediate attention.

Crisis Management/Online Reputation Management – What happens when your organization comes under attack because of a recall, a production accident, a scandalous statement made by an employee, a coordinated attack by an activist group, or any other crisis? How quickly and effectively you respond across ALL channels (traditional and Social) now makes the difference between a mere speed bump and a PR catastrophe.

Imagine that your trains or airplanes leave tens of thousands of passengers stranded across a continent, just days before a major Holiday. Is your organization prepared to leverage Social Channels to both keep tabs of the situation and keep the public informed? Whether your oil well blows up, your accelerator pedal sticks, your CEO gets caught doing something unsavory, your nemesis implies that your products kill endangered species, or any number of unforeseen PR calamities decide to strike at the least opportune moment, is your organization ready to leverage new channels to put out the fire before it becomes a raging inferno? Do you think a blogger can do this for you? The twitter guy? No. Your Crisis Management team is best equipped to deal with this. It is their responsibility to incorporate the Social Web into their activities. Will they need help in adapting to this “new” medium? Sure. But the responsibility to execute still falls on them to understand, plan, and execute fluently.

Market Research/Business Intelligence – You can now do this in real time. No more delays needed. The greater the social capital, the larger the pool of insights. The more fluent with the space, the greater the pool of data. It isn’t rocket science, but it still needs to be done.

etc. (If there is a role in your organization today, chances are that it can be enhanced by its own Social Media practice – yes, even accounts receivable.)

The main advantage of letting individual departments manage their own Social Media activities is that the “social media manager” doesn’t have to learn how to be a CSR, a PR person, a crisis management expert, or a product manager. Business functions come with their own expertise. Bloggers/Social Media persons effectively cannot perform dozens of business functions for which they have not been trained, and from which they have garnered very little experience over the years. A “Social Media” manager cannot wear every departmental hat.

Social Media programs within an organization exist to serve the business. Period. Since every business objective finds in its execution a specific operational structure based on departmental functions, each with their own sub-objectives, it stands to reason that Social Media is most effective when it directly serves these individual functions and activities.

How does a “Social Media expert” manage 400 customer service requests per day? He doesn’t. How does he manage the recruitment of the next fifty hires? He doesn’t. How does he manage Social Communications for a team of product managers? He doesn’… [more]
Social_Business  Social_Communications  account_planning  social_media  brandbuilder  HR  olivier_blanchard  marketing  community_management  pr  structure  social_media_management  customer_service  CSR  Market_research  Business_Intelligence  from google
september 2010 by pratapdsingh

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