Tag: Marketing

Why I Became a Podcaster

Social Media0 Comments

A few weeks ago Sarah Thomas, Jason Neave and I got together over a few beers and gave life to the Communication Junction podcast. While it’s fair to say that the marketing podcast space is pretty crowded, we felt that there was still room for a uniquely (South) Australian voice to debate the issues important to marketing and comms professionals in the City of Churches.

While we still have some work to do to get it to a point where we will be truly happy, the response to the first episode has been reassuringly positive.

There was one bit of feedback I received, however, that took me by surprise. That was the number of people (over half I’d spoken to) who were perplexed at why I would (a) record a podcast; that was (b) specifically on marketing. After all, didn’t I already work, blog, speak and raise a young family? And why marketing? If it were sports or music, sure. But marketing? WTF?

It comes naturally to me

I love creating and content and have always wanted to record a podcast. Part of the reason why was eager to do it is probably because I spent over 10 years in radio. While most people are terrified at the thought of public speaking let alone someone downloading and playing back their voice, it really doesn’t faze me. I don’t have the best voice, but I speak passionately and earnestly on the things I love.

Having said that, I think I would be less comfortable if I were to do a video or photo blog. I’m a pretty average photographer at the best of times and don’t tend to take too many photos. In contrast, if I’m really interested in something, I tend to talk about it. A lot.

I’m compelled to do it

What’s the point in doing something if you don’t also love it. That’s how I felt when I realised I wanted to be a marketer – a digital marketer, to be precise.

Since then I’ve dedicated my professional (and large chunks of my personal) life to finding out everything I can about how technology has transformed the way brands communicate and engage with their customers. I’ve got a voracious appetite for knowledge and constantly read books, blogs and listen to podcasts, not to mention trawl Twitter for interesting links.

In addition to a varied background that has taken from the music industry, to the arts and not for profit sector, to media, marketing agency and now big client-side, I’ve been able to develop my thinking around issues related to digital marketing and business that I felt compelled to share with other people. I started this blog to do precisely that, but the opportunity to record a regular podcast with two people who I love debating the issues with was just too good to resist but also to take the great conversations we’ve had and put them online so that hopefully others can get some benefit from it.

So that’s my story.

What content are you compelled to create and why? Let me know in the comments.

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Walking away

Uncategorized13 Comments

“To thine ownself be true.”
– William Shakespeare

“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”
– Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

We all like looking at pretty things; especially if we’re the ones creating it.

It can be really hard to resist the lure of dabbling in Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Particularly on the web where part of the brief is to experiment, test and optimise, many digital marketers (myself included) love nothing more than to roll up our sleeves create.

In pretty much every case (unless it’s core business), this is a mistake.

We should learn to let go of those things we perceive as being ‘fun’ to do and focus on what really matters. This means letting go of tinkering and letting the experts do the work even if it’s going to cost you in the short term.

It’s cheaper to DIY

For some businesses this may be true, but for most, this argument doesn’t hold any water.

The cost imperative is often misplaced as the cost in terms of salary/lost productivity of you spending several days designing a new website far outweighs the financial cost of just getting a web designer to do it. Unless you have no money and there is no one else who could possibly do the job, there is no way you can say that the time you spend (a) figuring out how to do something; and (b) doing it at a suboptimal level, could be better spent doing something else that is more core to your business.

Having come from the NFP world where everything was done with shoestring, rubber bands and sticky tape, my thinking has shifted somewhat from trying to do everything myself and putting out an amateurish product, to engaging a professional who shared our vision and had a desire to work with us at a price that wouldn’t hold us to ransom. There are now so many design houses and agencies out there that its not too hard to find someone that matches your ethos and budget.

Ok, so what then?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given was from the Managing Partner of a large Adelaide law firm who asked me, “What do you want to be known for?”

While slightly out of context, his point was that if you want to get ahead you need to be an expert at something – your competitive point of difference, if you will – and that if you aren’t clear about what your objectives are for both your career and your job, it’s easy to get distracted. But if you know exactly what you are trying to achieve, it becomes much easier to walk away from the ‘nice to do’ stuff so you can focus on the task at hand and get the job done.

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(Social Media) Numbers that matter

Analytics, Social Media2 Comments

CEO: I think we need to be on <insert current hot social network>
Marketing: Great – I’ll setup an account
CEO: How will we know it’s working?
Marketing: *crickets*

No this isn’t from the script of The Social Network sequel but a scenario that is playing out in businesses all over the world. It seems everyone is getting into social media but no one knows how to start measuring it.

As I’ve said before, part of the beauty of the online space (social, included) is the wealth of data available to marketers and the accountability this brings. The problem is, that unless you have a clear idea about the metrics you are looking for, you run the risk of analysis paralysis.

So where do you start? Do you measure followers, comments, subscribers, visitors, mentions, RT’s, downloads, shares,…?

All too often, I hear social media marketers congratulating themselves on having x number of followers or however many posts. But what does that really mean?

Reporting on the number of followers, fans, etc. you have really doesn’t mean much on its own. Granted, they are a good indication of the potential reach you have, but don’t actually mean much on their own. Engagement metrics such as comments and retweets are better as they give an idea of the level of conversation and, well, engagement you are having with your audience, but again this doesn’t mean a whole lot on it’s own.

Instead, what you should be doing is tying those numbers in and seeing what impact social media is having on your business metrics.

If your job is lead generation or sales, then use your web analytics tool to measure the number of conversions that came from social media. If it is to build buzz through campaigns, use a tool like Radian6 or BuzzNumbers to determine success by monitoring changes in mentions and sentiment. Customer service? Check what impact your social media activity is having on customer satisfaction and your call centre.

The bottom line: There is no magic number for measuring social media success. Every business is different so why not start with the numbers that matter to your business.

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Ideas don’t need to be big, just portable

Digital Strategy6 Comments

Increasing media fragmentation has made it harder and harder for marketers to get their messages in font of audiences. Driven by the Internet and the abundance of choice it brings, consumers have the freedom to watch, listen and read what they want, when they want.

With so many potential touch points, you can no longer rely on a single execution to get your message across let alone guarantee that it is going to be heard.

Current research on changing media consumption shows that Australians are preferring to spend our time online than watching TV (which is probably time-shifted anyway), listening to radio or reading a newspaper. Even if we are, a smartphone, iPad or laptop is seldom far away. And online, the list of potential activities is endless whether it’s browsing your favourite sites, checking RSS feeds, instant messaging, paying bills, posting status updates or simply sending an email.

The seeds to drive attention, interest, desire and action can be planted on a multitude of platforms, each with their own unique mechanics and nuances. For instance:

Email must be personalised and timely if it’s to achieve all important clickthroughs.

Similarly, search engine marketing must be targeted and relevant based on the context of the users search.

Social media is about not marketing to your customers (in the traditional sense) but starting a conversation.

The point is it is you can’t treat them all the same. Big ideas tend to work only one way. It is not enough to take a good TV execution and shoehorn it into social media or a ‘viral video’ (with the exception of Old Spice). Ideas need to work across multiple touch points.

Marketing is now less about having the big ideas seen in Mad Men and The Gruen Transfer, and more about having lots of small ideas that can be tested and refined in parallel on multiple channels.

Don’t spend all your time and resources upfront searching for the big idea. Instead start with a touchpoint analysis of where your customers are and then see which ideas will tie them together.

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Who Owns Social Media?

Digital Strategy, Social Media8 Comments

Last week, Michelle Prak asked on her blog where social media sits in an organisation. As social media becomes a mainstream activity, the question must be who within an organisation is ultimately responsible for it?

“Social media and PR work well together”

Michelle argues that since social media is about conversations, PR professionals are best suited to take advantage of it. Marketers, she says, are not as interested in what audiences are saying about their brands.

The problem I have with this, is the general misunderstanding about what exactly marketing is. I am a marketer, and in my mind, the essence of marketing is matching consumers with the right products and services that fulfils a need or want in their life. This encompasses everything from supply chain management and customer service to sales and communication.

By my definition, PR, advertising, digital, etc. are all fall under the umbrella discipline of marketing. This is not to say that I’m a PR expert, which I’m not. I’m a marketer with specialised expertise in marketing communications and digital media. Conversely, all PR people are also marketers and to extend that a little bit further, so too is everyone else in an organisation. Understanding what marketing is and what the implications are for business can only make you better at what you do. For instance, customer service are right at the coal face and have more interaction with customers than anyone else. They have as much responsibility for marketing an organisation and embodying what it stands for as someone with ‘marketing’ or ‘communications’ in their job title. By being aware of why it is important to stay on-brand and what that means, they are more able to do their job than someone with no clue about why they have to say or do the things their job demands.

Where was I? Oh, right.

To try and limit social media to just the realm of PR, advertising or any other niche discipline, is to restrict the potential social media has to fundamentally transform a business. Social media must have a multi-disciplinary, marketing-led approach that first and foremost takes into account business objectives before tactics and execution. Only by taking a step back to ask ‘why?’ will an organisation truly know how best it applies to their business.

“Social media fits within a business’s communications strategy”

The first instinct most marcomms people have when presented with something like social media is, how can I use this to broadcast my message? This is exactly the wrong approach to be taking. While the disintermediation of media has enormous advantages, it has almost meant that brands now think they can start broadcasting their message directly to their target market instead of going through a media channel. Just because a conversation is happening out there about your brand doesn’t give you the right to engage with them uninvited.

Thinking about social media purely as a communications tool ignores what I see as two of it’s biggest benefits. Instead of rushing into engage, organisations need to first listen and learn what their customer’s are saying and how they want to be engaged. Going beyond Google alerts and other searches, social media monitoring tools such as Radian 6 and Dialogix gives brands unprecedented ability to monitor and analyse what’s being said about them online.

This insight and access into the mind’s of their consumers allows brands to really build intimate relationships with their customers by tailoring and personalising their approach. Building massive followings and blindly bombarding them with offers and promotions is no different to the traditional advertising that audiences are already switching off to.

As the always insightful Jay Baer writes, a better use for social media might be to strengthen the relationships you already have, rather than create new ones with people you don’t know.

“Why would a consumer “friend” us or “fan” us or “follow” us in social media, unless they were either already a customer, or at the very least had us in their purchase consideration funnel? The average Facebook member becomes a fan of just two companies per month, yet is exposed to thousands of brands during that same period. People don’t experimentally engage with brands in social media, they engage with the brands they already support.”

While the industry is still incredibly nascent, it appears that the best use of social media is when it is approached holistically and not just focused on the conversation but also on the insights into what an organisation’s customers think and say.

Read Michelle’s original post.

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