Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cognition

I ran across this little blurb in the 10/27/08 issue of BusinessWeek that I found endlessly interesting.

People, apparently differ radically on what makes things similar (from a study in Cognition). As a marketer, this really is fascinating. The study showed that about 50% of ~200 subjects defined similarly in a "categorical way," lumping does with cats because both are animals. The other half though more thematically, meaning that they paired dogs with bones instead for example.

The blurb points out a lesson for marketers: if you sell cake online, include "milk' in the search terms you buy!

The human mind continues to fascinate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stand Up

Social Media Speaking Gig

Here are some of the details of my upcoming seminar/speaking thing. The basic gist is trying to outline the core differences b/w traditional and engagement marketing and then giving some good examples and strategies around both.

About Social Media
What exactly is Social Media? Social Media is media that users can easily participate in and contribute to, like blogs, message boards, forums, wikis and social networks. It’s dynamic and flexible, thrives on the notion of making connections and brings with it the power of every user on the planet. As marketers, we are used to carefully crafting and honing our key messages and measuring results. Social media turns that scenario upside down. Control is shared by all users, and feedback is immediate.

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding social networks these days and companies have been quick to get in on the action by establishing profiles on these web sites to promote their products and services. Online social networks attract millions of users a day and visits to these sites are up 14% from the year before.

The online health industry is also growing rapidly. Internet giants like Microsoft have put resources toward online medical records. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has entered the world of social media with The Health Care Scoop (www.thehealthcarescoop.com), with the tagline “Patient reviews from people like you.” HealthCentral, an online destination for medical information, links people with a particular disease to relevant doctors and blogger-patients. Revolution Health, founded by former AOL chairman Steve Case, aims to be a one-stop shop for health and well-being. It offers a variety of online tools and resources as well as CarePages, online support communities created by patients and caregivers. Services like Angie’s List and Zagat are providing opportunities for consumers to rate their physician and healthcare experiences online.

About The Work Session
Tapping the Power of Social Media to Advance Your Brand Agenda

In this virtual session, we will explore the rise of social media and social marketing. Marc will share information about how businesses and organizations are tapping into this powerful resource, its impact, and how we can get involved.

Key questions to consider as you prepare for the session include:
-How are organizations approaching social media and social marketing?
-How can you connect with and build relationships with consumers receptive to your messages?
-How do you create high levels of engagement, gain good customer insights and feedback?
-What types of tools are involved and which best meet your business objectives?
-How do you build your brandstream? (i.e. a consistent flow of content created by a brand)
-How do you deliver value and measure the effort?
-How can you use new media in combination with traditional marketing techniques to build your brand?
-How do you help your organization move from web 1.0 to web 2.0 (interactive content; engaging consumers in content creation and social interaction)?

The prospects of social media and social marketing for healthcare are compelling for us as marketing leaders, for our organizations and for health care as an industry.

Meet our Catalyst:
In his role as Lead Social Networking Strategist for Microsoft, Marc Sirkin focuses on building business-to-business communities in the Enterprise Marketing Groups. Since 2001, Sirkin has held executive and senior level marketing roles focusing on helping large international organizations benefit from digital marketing. His experience includes leading eMarketing efforts for The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society and the March of Dimes. Marc is a regular blogger and speaker at conferences that include the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Nonprofit Technology Network.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Best E-mail in a Long Time

I'm gonna ask you this only once. Do you or do you not know about the birds?

From: Prisament, Robert <RPrisament@birdistheword.com>
To: Marc Sirkin msirkin@yesthatstheword.com
Date: Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 10:14 AM
Subject: Important message regarding the word!

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And in case you are wondering what the hell I'm talking about:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting Back on the Speaking Gig Horse

I was asked to speak to a group of Healthcare CMOs about social media and marketing. In fact, I just had a prep call with them and I have lots of thoughts floating in my head right now.

In particular, I found myself really pushing hard on the distinction between traditional marketing and "new marketing."

When I talk about "new marketing," I'm referring to "conversations" and building customer communities. I've been thinking lately about the distinction between the two, and while to some of us it's fairly obvious, to others it's not so clear.

Traditional marketing includes direct mail, telephone, advertising and more. It also now includes ads on social media sites like Facebook and Myspace. It even includes in my own mind, much of what we call viral marketing. To me, traditional marketing is all about manipulating your customers to get them to buy your crap (that's my cynical, I'm wearing my conversation hat definition and I'm sticking to it!). BTW, traditional marketing extends to buying keywords on Google as well in case you were wondering.

The conversation stuff is less and less about "marketing" and manipulation. It's about having a dialogue with your customers, talking to them and with them about "stuff."

Stuff being... whatever they want to talk about. Even if that stuff isn't what you want them to talk about. If you try to control what they talk about, you've jumped the shark on the conversation and are now not building a community, but doing traditional marketing.

This tends to make it hard to distinguish true communities and communities that are just posing. At Microsoft for example, the CIO Network encourages folks to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about, even if that means taking a swipe at Microsoft or one of our products. I think it's great when one of our members has enough conviction and courage to bash away on our site. In my mind, that's telling us something important. It's having a customer tell us that he wants us to do better, and he's telling us how!

Traditional marketing can never deliver those sorts of responses to you. Ever.

The problem of course, is that you really have to commit to this idea of a conversation and not let your ego or your legal department (ha!) get in the way.

In any case, my talk to these CMOs will attempt to first make this distinction. Then I'll talk specifically about creating a culture of experimentation, success stories and a framework for how to think about conversational marketing. I'll also touch on how to add social media channels to your traditional marketing mix... although that's a topic that frankly, bores me to death. I'll try to load slides up on my slideshare site.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MS Society

Someone over at the MS Society is paying attention. They've apparently asked for Andy Sernovitz to give a keynote speech and in doing so, Andy's sent out an e-mail presumably to a bunch of folks asking for the answers to 3 question. I just sent him mine, and decided to do a quickie blog post about it (I've been struggling to find stuff to blog about lately!).

Here was Andy's e-mail, my answers are bolded.

I'm giving a keynote speech to the National MS Society (http://nmss.org/) in November. I want to help them learn to earn great word of mouth, motivate volunteers, and raise money.

Please help:

1. Answer the following 3 questions and email me your answer

2. I'll blog all the replies, link to you, and share your ideas with all 1,500 participants at their annual conference

3. Blog about the whole thing when it's posted in a few weeks

Here we go:

1. To get more word of mouth for the National MS Society, they should try ...

> open source their fundraising efforts by building a robust community and giving them the tools and permission to raise money how they want to.

2. Here's an idea to get volunteers excited and active:

> collaborate with patients, families and doctors to create MS-pedia - the ultimate resource and guide to MS

3. The best way get bloggers talking about a cause is to ....

>do something completely out of left field and outrageous