Oct 27, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

Go Giants in World Series and Viral Video

In honor of the SF Giants in the World Series today, here is a viral video from a fan (Ashkon Davaran: twitter ashkonmusic) that has generated over 1 million views. This video captured the hearts of the SF Giants season. Maybe this video wouldn’t have gone viral if the Giants didn’t win the pennant, but that’s the point.

Going viral is part content, part timing and part luck. In this case, all three came together.

Go Giants!

Oct 27, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

#mptech Guy Kawasaki Keynote and 6 Twitter Tips

I attended MarketingProfs SocialTech conferenceyesterday, which brought together a great roster of speakers including Jeremiah Owyang, Robert Scoble, Michael Brito, Laura Ramos and more.  The ending keynote was Guy Kawasaki on how to use Twitter for B2B marketing.

I plan to post summaries of the sessions I waas able to attend either today or tomorrow, but wanted to start with Guy’s presentation first. Why? Because he decided to give an unusual keynote.

Instead of a straight forward keynote about the strategy of Twitter, he gave a more stream-of-consciousness look into how he uses twitter on a day-to-day basis. After a long day of sessions and enormous amounts of ideas/information, I thought this was an entertaining way to discuss why Twitter is integral for marketing and how to leverage it.

Be Memorable, Be an Expert – Six Tips for Twitter

 1. “Sucking up is key”- Guy’s point is that you have to be kind to people on Twitter. This is one of the best ways to get people to follow and retweet you.

The Takeaway: Tweets are just a collection of letters and words. Intent can sometimes be misunderstood. As such, follow the Golden Rule and you will avoid any misunderstandings.

2. Be an expert -Want more followers? Be interesting. To do this, monitor those who are considered experts. When appropriate, share interesting feedback or content to be seen as intelligent contributor. Once they retweet your contributions, you’ll then be seen as an expert in turn.

The Takeaway: Be very clear on your messages and how you want to position your company on Twitter. Everything you tweet should be related to this to further position you and your company as an expert.

3. Use search intelligently- There are many ways to use search. The question is which parameters are you using? Consider searching beyond just the content of the tweet to look at profile information (search by title, geography, bio) or even look at tweets to and from a person. This helps you to better do points 1 and 2.

The Takeway: Conduct regular search to identify new influencers within your space.

4. “Tweet is the new haiku” – You only have 140 character. In order to capture attention, you have to be interesting. If you’re not the best person, then find someone who can.

The Takeaways: The best person to contribute to your Twitter feed may not even be in the marketing or PR department.

5. Social content curation – One of the controversial issues with Guy’s Twitter feed is his use of ghost contributors to his feed. In his keynote, Guys highlights how he collaborates with this group like a managing editor would with his writers. If he sees something interesting, but is unable to tweet or blog about it, he assigns the story to one of the appropriate ghost writers. This helps keep his content fresh while providing a benefit to his readers.

The Takeaway: Twitter never sleeps but individuals do. Instead of one person monitoring your Twitter stream, have a group of individuals within a corporation monitor and response for you customer support or brand management needs.

6. Be like CNN - Don’t assume everyone sees your tweet the first time. Consider tweeting 2-3 time during different time zones so the maximum number of followers see your tweet. (Note: according to Guy, this is against Twitter’s terms of use. Though he hasn’t been terminated for such behavior, he is probably an exception. Hint to Twitter – another way to generate revenue?).

The Takeaway: Marketers are content creators and publishers. In the case of Twitter, what may seem “spammy” may actually be the best strategy to ensure your message is seen and read by your customers, partners, and prospects.

Conclusion

The keynote didn’t have a direct way of presenting how one could use twitter for B2B marketing. Rather, Guy shared a collection of ideas and thoughts of his personal use to inform marketers on what could work for them. And depending on your needs, each marketer could walk away with a deeper understanding of how to use Twitter for her own marketing needs – both from a tactical and strategic perspective.

If you watched the keynote (either in person or virtually), what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? What takeaways did you have?

Oct 25, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

Book Review – Digital Body Language by Steven Woods

Digital Body Language by Steven WoodsOver the past 10 years, we have seen the Internet and now Web 2.0 and social media technologies drastically change how marketers and public relations professionals engage with prospects, customers, employees and influencers online. As much of this interaction is being done online, the challenge is how marketers can “read” the digital signals  to determine interest and intent. In a nutshell, how to provide the right information, to the right person, at the right time.

That is the premise of Steven Woods’ book, Digital Body Language. As co-founder of Eloqua, a marketing automation company, Steven  provides insight into how marketers can translate these digital signals to increase the effectiveness of their marketing programs.

While the book is written with the marketer in mind, PR practitioners can benefit by reading this book as well. The step-by-step look into the customer’s digital psyche will help PR professionals understand the challenges that their marketing counterparts face. PR can help marketers understand behavior triggers; thereby recommending strategies, content and programs that drive these objectives forward. PR moves from being a ”brand awareness” vehicle to a strategy that can pinpoint why and what will impact a customer’s behavior and interest.

For example, most executives want to business coverage regardless of how this coverage will or will not impact the bottomline. Yet, you strongly recommend a vertical program based on budget, time and objectives. If you can highlight how a vertical outlet program drove X% interest  target prospects which uncovered $X in sales opportunities for a similar client, then not only will C-Level executives pay attention, but PR will also earn a seat at the table.

Isn’t this a strong value proposition?!

Conclusion

Steven provides marketers an understanding of the new digital body language. His approach is straight-forward with case studies to provide real-world implentation stories combined with helpful tips. I recommend this book for all PR practitioners and those entering the marketing field.

Let me know what you think of the book below in the comments or if you have any other must-read books.

I met Steven Woods at the Eloqua Experience 2010 Conference in October 2010.

Oct 22, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – John Grosshandler

As part of the PRMM Interview series, I am interviewing thought leaders in PR, marketing, social media, and virtual events to hear about innovations, trends and technologies impacting our industry. This week, I asked virtual events vetaran, John Grosshandler is Director of Virtual Engagement with Maritz, to provide insight on the evolution of virtual events, challenges facing the industry and future trends. Here is a brief bio (Note: I was previously employed by Inxpo):

 In 2004, John launched a first of its kind virtual trade show called eComXpo which became the highest-grossing, longest-running virtual trade show ever held.  In 2005, after initially being their first customer, John joined InXpo, the virtual event platform provider that powered eComXpo.   While there, he was the Virtual Event Strategist on hundreds of virtual events for associations (e.g. HIMSS, National Association of Realtors), corporations (e.g. Cisco, ATT) and publishers (e.g. UBM, Ziff Davis).  While at InXpo, John authored the virtual event industry’s first Best Practices Guide.  In his role at Maritz, John is responsible for their virtual event offerings, including supporting their channel partner Freeman.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into virtual events?

My background has been in sales and marketing roles for cutting edge technology solutions.  After a successful 8 year run at a software firm pre/during/post the tech bubble, I had the opportunity  to start my own business.  In 2004, I launched a start-up around the idea of a virtual trade show aimed at eCommerce marketers.  While there had been a number of attempts at virtual trade shows before mine, most of them were quite boring and I thought a business could be built around a more engaging type of virtual event. 

How has the industry changed since you’ve started?

The evolution in this space has been extraordinary on many fronts.  First has been the realization that the technology is only one component of a successful event, and that you need to spend at least as much time on the strategy, content and marketing.   As a result, agencies like Maritz, Freeman and others are building practices to help event organizers put on higher quality events with less effort.  Another evolution has been around the types of events held.  From 2004-2008, almost all the action was publishers putting on virtual trade shows to replace lost revenue from their declining print ad sales and subscriber base.  In 2009, you started to see associations more effectively creating hybrid extensions to their physical conventions.   2009 is also when more and more corporations starting leveraging virtual for a variety of events, ranging from sales meetings to user groups. A welcome change has been the technology platforms themselves, which increasingly have very robust functionality and can handle ever-increasing numbers of virtual attendees.  Finally, there’s less talk these days about purely virtual events, and more about hybrid and blended events which I believe is the future.

Adoption of virtual events & meetings technology has increased significantly due to the recession. What challenges do you see for mainstream adoption of this technology?

Although the adoption has increased significantly, we’re still only scratching the surface.  One report suggests the virtual event space will grow to $18 billion in five years, so we’re still in the “early adopter” phase.  To cross the chasm to mass adoption, I think three things need to happen a) the technology needs to become more self-service and less expensive; b) virtual event platforms need to be effectively ported to mobile devices and c) events funded by virtual exhibitors need to deliver more value to those sponsors.

2011 is just around the corner and it’s the time of year for future predictions. What do you see happening for the industry in 2011?

I see 2011 as the “Year of the Hybrid”.  The idea that more and more physical events will have virtual extensions, either as pre, during or post the physical event.  Whether those virtual extensions are focused on driving more attendees to the physical event, or helping you reach others who weren’t able to make it to the physical event, these extensions are the “killer app” for virtual technology.

Any additional thoughts that you would like to share?

An exciting new use of the technology allows corporations to create virtual extensions to their physical trade show booths.  Even if the show organizer doesn’t have a virtual extension to the event as a whole, top tier sponsors are realizing that their own virtual extension can help build buzz, drive attendance to their physical booth and provide a more effective follow-up mechanism for booth visitors, as well as those that didn’t make it to the physical event.

Technorati verification: 9ZGN6GBWBMAT

Oct 19, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

#EE10SF – Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua – Keynote Summary

I’m currently attending the Eloqua Experience Conference in San Francisco and will provide quick summaries of the keynotes/presentations that I attend.

Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua, gave a keynote presentation this morning titled Unleashing Your Revenue Engine. Simply, the keynote highlighted the concept of Revenue Performance Management or RPM.

RPM in a Nutshell

The idea is to provide sales and marketing with a consistent way to measure and report efforts back to the C-Suite. For example, looking at days leads outstanding (DLO), which analyzes the number of days of marketing quality leads (MQL) to closed sales.

Eloqua is proposing a single framework – called the C-Suite 16 (“Suite 16″ for basketball fans), which provides reports across all industries. With this framework, C-level, sales and marketing can pinpoint key questions to identify opportunities and grow the company versus focusing on “marketing is giving us bad leads” or “sales isn’t working the leads.”

Conclusion

Too often, we hear about the friction between sales and marketing. With a consistent language and methodology, this gap can finally be closed, allowing sales & marketing to drive corporate growth forward, cooperatively. Kudos to Eloqua if it succeeds in developing this common language.

Oct 18, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

Beware of “Speeds and Feeds” PR

Photo by Gregg Salomon

When kick-starting a PR program, the main challenge is creating awareness about the company, executives and products/services within the industry and to prospective customers. In the pursuit of immediate results, the tendency is to pitch and secure media coverage about the features and functions of a product or solution. And based on this initial success, subsequent PR efforts solely focus on product upgrades, improvements and other similar “speeds and feeds” details.

However, focusing on speeds and feeds has its drawbacks:

* Elevating product over value proposition. Your company becomes known for the product features and functions versus the value proposition that your company solves, which

* Pigeon-holes your company in the minds of your customers, prospects and influencers. This creates a situation where you have

* Minimal thought leadership compared against your competitors.  Your company is seen as providing a specific product versus positioning your company executives as thoughts leaders who are driving the industry forward.

* And this hinders your consultative sales efforts. Your salesforce requires sales materials that highlight how your solutions, services and products solve a business problem. By focusing media coverage on features and functions, your not arming your salesforce with the right tools.

Conclusion

Let’s be clear. I’m not advocating that you favor thought leadership in place of speeds and feeds. Rather, you have to implement the right mix of PR tactics to achieve your PR, marketing and business objectives.

Do you agree or disagree? Are there any other drawbacks?

Oct 15, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – Ken Molay of Webinar Success

Webinars has become an important toll for marketers. I asked Ken Molay, president and founder of Webinar Success, to share his thoughts on the evolution of webinars, how marketers can best leverage this for their programs, and what to expect in a couple of years. Here is Ken’s bio:

Ken Molay is president and founder of Webinar Success, a consulting firm that assists companies in producing and delivering effective and compelling web seminars. Ken combines a technical background with experience in corporate marketing and public presentations. He is a prolific blogger on the subject of web conferencing and its applications, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and industry publications. He is a frequent public speaker on the topic of more effective webinars.

You’ve been writing about webinars for awhile. What is the most significant change that you’ve seen?

I started using webinars as a marketing tool some ten years ago. At that time, the concept was a novelty. I was constantly explaining what they were. Now webinars are ubiquitous and almost every business person has at least attended one, if not presented one. Attendance rates for marketing webinars used to be very high, averaging 50-60% of registrants. Now they average 33%. People will no longer attend just for the experience of trying out a new learning medium. As usage becomes more common, presenters spend less time and effort on preparation. This is rapidly leading to audience dissatisfaction as they attend more and more online sessions where presenters read text off slides, sound disinterested in their own material, and don’t seem to care about delivering value as much as collecting names and emails on the registration form. Companies who host webinars need to “up their game” and concentrate on creating value for their attendees in both content and presentation.

So webinars have become a key tool in a marketer’s toolkit. What are the top three things that marketers need to consider when using webinars for their programs?

            a) The webinar title, promotional efforts, and content MUST be framed in terms of audience interests and benefits instead of the host’s informational content. Instead of telling your audience “We wanted to tell you about our latest offering” you need to tell them “Learning about our latest offering will benefit you in the following ways.”
 
            b) Watch out for the “successful webinar” trap. Many marketing departments try a webinar and get good results on gathering leads and seeing a very positive cost-benefit. So the boss says, “Great! Do one of these a week. This is a cheap lead generating machine!” You end up with “list exhaustion” as people don’t want to attend that frequently and you end up with “presenter exhaustion” as there is not enough time to prepare and rehearse compelling content. Your presenters view it as an inconvenient distraction from their “real jobs”. Quality goes down, your audience stops coming, and your boss gets angry.
 
            c) Your success in turning marketing webinar attendees into sales prospects is greatly influenced by your speed of response after the event. Don’t just dump the registration list into a CRM system for eventual follow up by a salesperson. A “follow up” call or email two weeks later has the same psychological impact as a cold call. You need to send follow up email within 24 hours of your webinar. Immediately following the event, have someone go through the webinar chat log or feedback responses, looking for people who asked a specific product question or requested a contact. Get back to them the same day. Have your supporting material or collateral ready to send… Don’t wait until after the webinar to assemble it.

The space has become more crowded with more vendors and offerings. Where do you see the industry going in 1-2 years?

Video is the hot item of the year. Vendors are rapidly adding what they refer to as “high def” streaming video capabilities to their webinar products. I am comfortable with presenter video in smaller team meeting applications, but I am not a fan of live video for public marketing webinars. It puts a tremendous additional burden on the presenter, who cannot easily move around, look at notes, or check the web conferencing console without breaking eye contact with the audience. It is harder to create a professional corporate image with video because of the many subtle visual cues we respond to as viewers without consciously realizing it. Video also demands much more bandwidth, and companies run the risk of excluding or delivering subpar experiences for attendees with slower network connections. So I think we may see a wider adoption of video conferencing initially, followed by a pullback (at least for marketing webinars) while companies wait for infrastructure to catch up and for their production teams to learn a new set of best practices.
 
The other trend I see developing is a desire for easier monetization of webinars. This does not directly affect marketing webinars, but many companies want to deliver fee-based training, consultation, and support to a wider audience than they can reach with in-room seminars. There are not enough technology choices and integrated features in the market to make this easy and cost-effective to implement.

Have you leveraged webinars for your program? If so, share your successes, lessons learned and more below.

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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