I had an interesting conversation with Steve Gershik who writes Innovative Marketer the other day. We discussed his recent post, “An open letter to PR agencies…” which highlighted some of his frustrations over a recent PR agency search. For me, I come from the PR agency background. I truly support PR and want to see PR agencies succeed. But unfortunately, since going in-house, I have to agree with Steve’s points.
In the end, I want a successful partnership (stress partnership here). But in order to do this, you need to be honest with me regarding your workloads and what is truly possible. This way, we can set the right expectations for success. Which leads me to
Referrals are key…
In this economy, referrals are worth their weight in gold. The expectations are higher when you’re referred by a person I trust or I’ve worked with you in the past. But don’t waste this opportunity. If you do poorly in front of my executives, it looks bad for you, me and the person who referred you. In the end, I’ll never refer you again. So bring in your A game and do 150% if you’re referred to me. But one word of caution
Respect My Process
People like Steve and I are managing entire marketing programs. For me, I cannot manage the vetting process from beginning to end so I work with my colleagues to help me in the process. Don’t try to circumvent that process by trying to reach me directly. In fact, you may lose the business as a result. And for PR agencies, would you go around a reporter to the editor becuase you thought the reporter was too slow? I guess it depends but you would think twice before doing that becuase of the remifications, right?
What do you think? Are there any other points to consider?
While we all know Southwest as the no frills, low cost airline, I am starting to see them as an airline that delights in being different. This is evidenced by the employees but most evidently via the safety talk mandatory on each flight.
The Five Minute Experience
You know what I’m talking about. By the fifth or sixth time you tune out “the exit rows are located … blah blah blah.” What southwest does is turn these four to five minutes to create a memorable experience. Whether through ad lib jokes and one-liners to the rapping intro, each are designed to communicate a clear message about southwest – we’re different than the other guys.
I learned from my flight attendant that these are not scripted (though there is a song book). They are a collection of jokes and topical items that each flight provides.
So in five minutes, Southwest took a normally “dead” time to entertain a captive audience, create an experience completely unique to this airline (others would be seen as copy cats) while delivering important safety information.
Isn’t that what we all try to do with our marketing efforts? What can you do with five minutes?
As I mentioned in my post about tips for your youtube video, I am experimenting more with the power of video. When possible, I will interview interesting individuals and their marketing (this includes social media and public relations) campaigns. My inaugural video is with Jeff Stai, Owner of the Twisted Oak Winery. He is known as @eljefetwisted on Twitter and El Jefe on the El Bloggo Torcido (Twisted Oak blog).
Jeff is a very personable guy and I think this personality is the key to his winery’s success. He has developed a loyal following of wine lovers (I’m a new fan) through social media. To me, the net net of Jeff’s success is that social media allowed him to connect with his fans and create a community that is engaged with the winery.
Isn’t that what ALL of us are trying to do with marketing?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting more with video. It’s visual and can communicate a lot in a short span of time. I want to share three tips that I’ve learned over the past few weeks for your http://www.YouTube.com/ videos.
The Quality Vs. Content Dilemma
There are two camps on the quality of the video versus the content. Some insist that the video be high-production quality while others (like me) believe that slighter lower quality with good content is fine. I prefer the latter because I’ve seen videos held up because of delays with production. By the time the video is “production quality,” you may have missed an opportunity to lead with quality content.
I argue that as long as you have quality content, your viewers are willing to sacrifice a little quality.
When doing a video, the spokesperson is just as important as the content. You may have the best content but if the person is unable to deliver it convincingly and in an engaging way, people may stop the video and go elsewhere.
Distributing the Video
The last part is how to distribute your video. I’ve personally defaulted to YouTube and I believe that YouTube is becoming a place for business videos too. For those who may not want to watch the video, consider writing an accompanying post that summarizes the key points. Instead of a social media press release, I recommend issuing a press release that points to a page that has the video on your website alongside with other relevant content.
Since starting my new job, I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog. To me, video may be a way for me to capture my thoughts and introduce you to folks in the industry as well. Let’s see how this works. What do you think? Do you like the videos or prefer my written posts?
Side Note – Flip mini HD
So I just bought the Flip mini HD to post higher quality video while not breaking the bank. I like the little camera, but I thought I had uploaded a HD quality video. Because the Flip software doesn’t have many editing options,I imported the video to the Windows Movie Maker program that came with my computer. The video played well on my computer but I lost something as it was uploaded. I think I may take a page from my friend John Welsh, who just records and posts the whole video without any editing.
Per a press release by Sirius Decisions, the research finds that best-in-class companies are “…rejecting a ‘defensive posture’ by still working to close deals or at least lay groundwork for future business despite buyer anxiety and retrenchment,” notes Alden Cushman, SiriusDecisions’ research director and benchmarking analyst.”
The goal is to position the company for when the economic upswing happens. Key points in the release included.
- 44 percent to reduce marketing spend for 2009
- 25 percent will report flat spending
- Spending on advertising will decline by 17 percent and events down by 12 percent
- Focus is moving from lead generation to lead maturation
Next steps for your marketing efforts
What does this mean for you?
* Be very clear about who your target audience is and what influences this audience to make a purchase decision which means
* Refine your definition of a “sales-ready” lead by communicating with your sales team
* Create an aggressive lead nurturing program to move prospects through the funnel to deliver “sales-ready” leads to your salesforce
* Take this opportunity to leapfrog your competition by investing in areas that will increase your company’s awareness and value proposition to your key audiences
What other recommendations would you make?
I received this question from Nathalie Seoteman after she read my free ebook on using social media:
How [can you] calculate the value of a company’s online reputation and (marketing) PR 2.0 efforts? What did these activities produce, put in figures and – preferably – in euro’s/dollars? I would like to include both the reputation damage that has been diverted and the positive/negative/neutral online coverage that has been created.
This raises an interesting and very complex question. There will inevitably be tangible and intangible ways to measure the value.
Measuring Positive and Negative Reactions
Assuming that you’re using a tool like Trackur, Radian6 or just Google alerts to track your coverage, the first thing you have to segment the coverage by what Radian6 calls sentiment – negative, neutral or positive. Once you’ve done this for media coverage, video responses, Twitter responses, blogs postings and more, you can get a visual representation of the sentiment over time.
The question then is how do you assign a monetary value to this. One way is to use ad equivalence, which is how much would it have cost you to advertise in a magazine for the same space. The obvious drawback is that this will not cover a significant portion of your coverage and you have to do the time consuming research to find the ad values. But let’s assume that this works for 40% of the videos, blogs and media coverage out there. How do you measure the remaining 60%?
The Value of a Single Customer Won or Lost
I am assuming that you have a sense of your sales pipeline and what the average deal size (let’s keep this simple, ok? =). If you delved into the content of what is being said, how many would say they would 1) hire your company; 2) never work with your company again or 3) are neutral.
I’m making a huge assumption that each person is a potential customer regardless of their company affiliation and title. For example, there are over 589,000 fans on the Skittles Facebook page. If I assumed that each person bought at least one Skittles product that cost $0.75, then the potential value would be $448,500.
You can then do the same with your business: positive = gain average deal size, neutral = zero, negative = costs you average deal size
Conclusions: Not an Exact Science, Yet
I admit that I am ignoring the relative influence and weight of differing outlets, people or prominence of coverage. I also know that not everything can be easily dissected into the three sentiments I highlighted above. But frankly, I didn’t want to turn this posting into an essay
While technology is catching up to help automate the process, I believe that there is still a very manual process involved to evaluate the coverage, put it into the appropriate bucket and then assign a value to it. Hence, I recommend that you start simply – take the most simple measurement and build upon it over time. Otherwise, you may find yourself spending more time assembling reports about your online reputation versus managing it directly.
In the end, there is no right answer for measuring the value of bad or good online reputation management. I hope the above provides a starting point for those seeking to calculate this value.
I would love to hear of how others would go about calculating the value of bad and good online reputation.
Positive Ad Equivalence – Negative Ad equivalence = Total Ad Equivalence
Potential Customer Deal Won – Potential Customer Deal Lost = Value of Potential Customer Deal
Total Ad Equivalence + Potential Customer Deal = Total Value of Positive/Negative Online Reputation
Online reputation management is an increasingly complicated process with the prevalence of online media, offline media, and social media. I previously wrote a post about Trackur and had the opportunity to see a demo of Radian6‘ solution. I was very impressed with the sophistication of what Radian6 has put together.
Radian6 seems to have a very comprehensive search capability through different types of media. The results are presented by publication date. I liked how the service provides a social profile of each media outlet, such as blogger info or Twitter followers/following/updates. You can quickly scan the results to determine “influence weight” (more on that below). You can also set up different searches to monitor your company, competitors and different topics.
Share of Conversation
I liked how Radian6 is able to pull info to create what they call share of conversation. It’s similar to “influence” but goes deeper to determine your share of voice on particular topics. Radian6 will do one time topic pull of the past 6 months to create a baseline. This way, you can track which how your marketing, PR and social media activities have impacted the company’s online reputation over time.
The basics are:
- River of news – this is all the mentions that you’ve received based on the criteria you set up for the search
- Influence widget – you have the ability to weight different criteria, for example number of inbound links, (what are other criteria).
- Trending – you can view the data in aggregate to spot trends. For example, did a free eBook create a spike on Twitter with retweets or a press release increase the online mentions through your news distribution.
- Conversation clouds – you can further drill down to see conversation clouds (similar to tag clouds), which allow you to sense keywords around a particular topic, company, etc.
- Reporting – the information can then be exported into different formats. You can send out a dashboard report and two of the widgets twice a day.
I like how Radian6 has incorporated a CRM flow to manage possible sales leads. For example, a dashboard is created to track key phrases, such as “online management tool”. Depending on the context, the lead generation manager can review and assign certain items to sales people. That is how Radian6 first identified me as a possible lead after my post about Trackur.
There is then an audit trail to determine the status of assigned items. While this isn’t linked to a larger CRM system like Salesforce, this is a nifty function to have for marketing and sales. It provides accountability and a steady source of prospective leads from multiple sources. Imagine that!
While the pricing is only a few hundred a month, it is more appropriate for larger companies or agencies (PR and marketing consultancies). The former can absorb the minimal cost while the latter will pass it on to their clients. SMBs or start-ups with tighter budgets may opp to forgo this in favor of other programs.
With all the ways the data can be viewed, I would be interested in seeing an executive dashboard that is a high-level breakdown on how a company’s share of conversation has evolved overtime. And if there was a way for a marketer to assign value to different campaigns, track the progress of “conversation” and then calculate ROI, that would be very interesting indeed.
Accuracy: As this was a demo, I cannot determine the level of accuracy. With that said, I do give Radian6 kudos for incorporating a variety of media types.
Ease of Use: 5 out of 5
Cost: Reasonable for companies, wished there was SMB Pricing. Non-profit pricing is available.
Cece 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.
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