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Local Business Analytics and Digital Metrics

While there are plenty of global business models, the reality is that most people prefer to do business with local providers. When all things are equal we differ to the professionals we can look in the eye and shake hands with…

But that idea isn’t so simple to understand when it comes to the collision of online trends and real world usage…

When someone uses a smart phone to search for nearby services they first have to overcome the extreme bias of marketing dollars that control how ‘not so local’ businesses have bought themselves the lion’s share of exposure. While some search engines have limited ad slots to prevent the search results from being completely dominated by advertising, the bottom end of the ‘natural results’ are equally affected by money being spent optimizing information in a way that other local small and mid-sized businesses are unaware of.

But exposure is simply one metric for a local business…. Read more

Corporate Social Media Training Tools

Here is a method of having an actionable conversation about corporate social media training within your organization and how you can develop a better understanding of cross-departmental benefits.

The Business Case

One of the biggest problems with corporate social media is that departmental teams fail to think outside the project box they are looking at.

This often means that they are trying to force a square cog (social media)  into a round hole (the immediate project requirements.)

The core issue with this is that we are not dealing with square cogs and round holes.

We are dealing with a conversation about the way dozens of different pieces plug into a limitless number of business scenarios.
The simple reality is that most people don’t have a deep understanding of available solutions and force the incorrect assumptions into place.

While we want to categorize social media into something we can either adopt or dismiss, we need to think about how the term ‘social media’ is has been used to improperly label innovation within the corporate structure. Most of us like to think of social media as a ‘digital marketing’ channel and as a ‘buzz’ phrase connecting to PR and word-of-mouth. In many cases  we compound the issue by grouping it with web design, graphic arts, and online advertising.

Social media is the  generalized term for ‘all things belonging to the web’ ….

We need to first agree on what social media is and is not.

We need a process for clarity…

What matters is that you can sit down with a project team and agree what is and is not in the scope of your project.

The Visual Solution

Imagine your team has fifty different components it needs to consider for you net project. These components can range from business process points including customer service and product design, to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Each one of these components is going to be placed into a circle on a basic diagram.

The sample below demonstrates 50+ items that could go into a conversation about launching a new product.

corporate social media training

 

The idea behind the process is fairly simple: while the sample has 50+ components we could be dealing with anywhere from two to a hundred items.

Identifying Categories

While we may have brainstormed 50+ items for our project team, we can easily group together like-minded items that belong to the same general niche within the project.

By taking the above items I’ve broken out some groupings for a conversation about my next social project.

  • Social Media Content Types
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Search Engines
  • Location Based Elements
  • Technology / IT issues
  • Business Unit Considerations
  • Business Validation 
  • Market Intelligence

 corporate social business training

What Social Media Is and Is Not

One of the most important steps of having this information on one sheet of paper is to identify what is and is not included in the current business conversation. It is critical to purposely remove an item from the conversation instead of assuming it is not included.

  • Removing it means everyone knows about it.
  • Assuming it means someone may not know it even exists.

Simply take your conversation map out and cross off any topics that are not involved in the current project scope. Before any item is removed from the conversation it should be confirmed that everyone in the decision making team actually knows what it is!

corporate social business training

Exercise #1 – Discovering Areas of Impact

Once you have 3-4 categories established, print out a few copies of the circles on paper and cut them apart.

During your group conversation you should practice moving through several areas of forced ideation:

  • randomly pull three to five circles and detail how the five elements interact.
  • take the same three to five circles and detail best case scenario and worse case scenario
  • take three to five circles and detail employee, management, and executive perspective
  • take three to five circles and detail internal (sales, marketing, HR) vs external (customer, prospect, market) perspective

Exercise #2 – Identifying Areas of Education

Pull out a pen and rate each circle from 1 to 5 based upon the expertise and understanding of the people within the decision making conversation.

  1. limited knowledge, no practical hands-on experience
  2. casual understanding, basic understanding
  3. recurring monthly experience, familiarity with daily usage
  4. can recite best practices to others, strong understanding of topic
  5. expert understanding, forward looking perspective, can relate topic to business impacts

During the rating process you should maintain a heavy bias towards any decision that is made using a sphere of expertise that uses a 1,2, or 3 rating.  A rating of 1 to 3 means that your group has a restricted view of the topics being affected and you are making a blind decision about the risks, benefits, and revenue impacts.

On-going Tests

While the two sample exercises above only introduce some of the basic areas of conversation you need to engage in, the basic framework above helps to identify your strengths and weaknesses concerning digital projects.

By understanding what topics overlap and what your core knowledge is surrounding those elements you can seek out and recruit subject matter experts to assist in making the right decisions.

When you develop you understanding of critical elements your understanding of social media and new technology being adopted into your business will quickly touch on hundreds of areas that have substantial business impacts. This will highlight where your corporate social media training initiatives can help reach tactical battles and strategic initiatives.

 

Is Local Marketing Dying?

It seems as though a bunch of headlines in the online marketing arena say that local marketing is the ‘next big thing’

But is it? Really?

Local marketing may be a required bit of business… but the end result is that the hype behind local marketing and the reality of local marketing are two different things.

The simple fact is that there have been some pretty massive efforts to lay claim to the local marketing category for decades.

Originally ‘local marketing’ was primarily owned by the yellow pages and traditional directory advertising. Newspaper, radio, and television also had a sizable chunk of local market share. Read more

MarketMix 2011, Event Pre Game

Join me at MarketMix 2011 Wednesday March 9th. I’ll be co-presenting along with Stuart Jenner from Marketek Consulting Group on the topic of improving your analytics (See full MarketMix 2011 agenda here)

Analytics and paid search should be on every team’s radar. Making assessments can be tough, but using every tool available to you can make all the difference. Great coaches continually gather and review stats on every player, because you have to know what’s working and what adjustments need to be made to your game plan. With optimization, the biggest change from a year ago is the way Google is, in some instances, integrating results from a number of different data sets. Businesses that care about local marketing are most impacted by this. Coach Jenner will cover local ads, local optimization, ads targeted to local sites (PI, Times, blogs) and guerrilla PR techniques for blogs and press.

In this session we will drive into some straight-forward strategies, along with some specific tactics for segmenting your message and refining your target.

In a nutshell, I’m going to

  • push audience members to rethink what areas they are looking at to measure ROI.
  • define segments of social media; including influencers and priority prospects.
  • challenge attendees to establish new models for executive stakeholders to think about.
  • make marketers think outside the box by removing ‘the box’ from the equation.

I’m open to virtual questions and answers both before and after. If you would like to get a specific digital analytics question answered, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me directly.

You can gain some additional insight on this topic by reviewing some of my other articles:

You can check out a full list of speakers @ MarketMix 2011 here.

Rod Brooks
VP, Chief Marketing Officer
PEMCO Insurance
@NW_mktg_guy

Shannon Burley
VP of Marketing
Seattle Storm
@SeattleStorm

Stephanie Gray
Marketing Manager
Seattle Seahawks/Seattle Sounders FC
@Seahawks
Gregg Greene
Director of Marketing
Seattle Mariners
@TheRealMariners

Porter Gale
VP Marketing
Virgin America
@VirginAmerica

Paul Anderson
Columnist, Speaker
Career Psychology Consultant
@ProLango

See you @ MarketMix 2011 !

No Broken Bones with Competitive Intelligence

When the web emerged decades ago, few of us would have realized the sheer volume of information that we would digitally create, share, cultivate, and engage with.

I’m going to tell you how five basic problems demand the need for acting smarter and give some pointers for fixing these basic problems by wrapping them into the way you think about competitive intelligence.

AND

I’m going to do it with a sports metaphor Read more