Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Whether you are a savvy blogger or a smart, hands-on small business owner who uses the web to connect, market and sell- there is one major part of the RoI jigsaw puzzle- tracking your off-site marketing campaigns. Sure you can use some existing ad tracking applications- but knowing that blogging and start ups are cash stranded, that might not be a very good idea.
I recently developed a marketing tool- a simple spreadsheet app that you can use to generate tracking tags for your marketing campaigns. And it is not just for online marketing, if you are creative, you can even use it for tracking your offline campaigns.
Interested? Read on. One caveat though. This works if you use Google Analytics (GA) as your web analytics tool. Not too much of a problem I presume- as GA is free and going by the success of it, it is likely that you’d be using this any which ways. In case you do not, I recommend that you do. (No- not getting paid to say this).
To access the tool, click on the link: ChasingTheStorm campaign tracking tool
It is a Google Docs spreadsheet- so you can log in using your Google ID, export the cells in your excel or spreadsheet, follow some simple instructions- and there you go.
There is a detailed explanation on ChasingTheStorm on how to use the sheet. Some details are also available on Google Analytics blog - and the inspiration to make the tool comes from there, though I have explained in a manner I thought would add value to the discussion. Of course, Google does not have a tool- they just have the theory.
Essentially- the sheet has 5 columns that need filled up- all according to your understanding and convenience. The 5 columns refer to the campaign variables that you as a marketer- populate. These variables will tell you about the source of the referrer and give you more detailed insights into the traffic emanating from your various campaigns.
The last cell has a formula that need not be changed- as it takes on the inputs from all those cells and then automatically develops a redirect/tracking code/tag.
What are the ways you can use this (there could be many ingenious uses that you can use this for):
- You could insert it as links in your email newsletter- and track not only one link- but use to track what call to action drives most traffic to your website
- If you track conversions, you could attribute this to conversions as well
- You could use this to update your status messages on your social network- and track people coming to the site from your social network
- You could even use it in your offline campaign- use URL shortening using a web service- and put the URL in your offline DM or newspaper classifieds ad. Track how many people visit your website after seeing this ad. Cool eh?
- You could use the auto tagging feature for your PPC campaigns across search engines and see which KWs are converting better
Are there any other ways that you think you can use the tracking for? Let us have the discussion continue for the benefit of all.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Top 5 posts of 2008 on TMRE:
Really Cool Research Deliverables
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s Targeted Shopper Marketing Approach
Who's Drinking the Wine?
So Many Presentations, So Little Time
What Women Want
Here were the top 5:
B2B Advertising in Social Networks are Increasing
Podcast conversation with Dawn Lacallade
American Express adopts social media: OPEN Forum
Podcast conversation with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh
Pros and Cons of Social News Sites
Most came to us live from NACCM. Even if you weren't in Anaheim to experience the Customers 1st event, you could still be in touch with everything that was going on at the event. Enjoy the top posts of the year!
NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers
NACCM 2008: What's Your Red Ball
Day 1 Keynotes - It's all about people!
Speaker Profile: Frank Capek
Friday, December 19, 2008
Skype launches video cards in Facebook
Just in time, perhaps, for those of us who haven't yet sent all our Christmas cards, Skype this week launched Skype Video Cards, as both an application in Facebook and also as a standalone feature at SkypeVideoCards.com.
The concept is quite simple and it works well as a Facebook application. You choose a basic card, record your video message and send this to your friends. They receive a personalised flash video message from you (and with Skype branding!). It's a nice application, and out with good timing as we enter the festive season with a force. It's simple to use (in four clicks you can create a card), creates a personal message and sends a flash video card which means it can be viewed directly from a web browser.
So what can we learn from this?
One question that this application raises is why is Skype doing this? As some people have noted, the video card tool doesn't make use of any Skype technology, it doesn't even integrate with your Skype contacts list to send to your friends.
For me this doesn't matter, especially not for the Facebook application. If this were only a standalone feature, then it would be odd that it didn't actually showcase the product whose brand it carried. But in Facebook, and indeed in other social networks, it is not so easy to market and product-place in this way.
As we've written about before, it can be very difficult to advertise in social networks. Primarily because social networks are social environments with social rules. People are there for their own, personal reasons - to upload their photos, network with their friends, plan their events and talk about issues that are of interest to them. It's a 'me' space and when brands enter this they need to be fully aware of the social rules they must abide by. It's not that easy to just place your product in front of people or pump your marketing message to them.
This is why the Skype Video Card application works for me. Rather than trying to integrate their actual product and develop an application that people will use and forward to their friends. Instead they opted for the solution of creating an application that creates real value for the users (especially those who have forgotten to send holiday greetings already) and allows the Skype brand to be associated with this.
Facebook and other social networks can be scary places for brands, and difficult places for them to succeed in. My advice: think first how you can add value to the users experience and then put your brand on it. You have a great chance of being successful, and of getting that brand forwarded round the internet faster than you could hope for.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Service innovation: Save your customers time. Save them hassle. Take the service to them. Result: Induce loyalty. Provide a new service that makes money. Earn unpaid media.
I came across this YouTube video from the Fox Business Network with Christian J. Ward, CEO of Ockham Research, in which he unveils their new application on the iPhone called Stockrazor. Unlike the app that comes with the iPhone that allows you to solely check your stock quotes, Stockrazor gives an in-depth fundamental analysis going after cash numbers, sales numbers, and dividends. Take a look at the video here.
They highlighted these areas as a way to engage your communities:
-Don't just talk at consumers -- work with them throughout the marketing process.
-Give consumers a reason to participate.
- Listen to -- and join -- the conversation outside your site. -Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell.
-Don't control, let it go.
-Find a 'marketing technopologist.' -Embrace experimentation. For a more concentrated look at these items, read the article.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
He related several ways you can do this for your customers:
- Relate: Relate with your customers through regular and meaningful contact, observations, and ongoing interactions.
- Retain: Retain your customers by creating barriers to switching to a competitor and create an atmosphere of exclusivity.
- Expand: Expand your relationship with your customers by offering complimentary products and services on an ongoing basis.
- Innovate: Keep your customers excited and engaged by surprising them with new product innovations or special bundles that are tailored just for them.
- Analyze: Analyze your customer behaviors and cultivation activities to predict and anticipate future wants and needs.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Some benefits of Google Trends are:
-Viewing and monitoring online search results
-Supporting information and current relative news trends that surround your web site's focus
-Find out who is searching for your information and where they're searching from
Read the article for a focused look at what you can do to leverage Google Trends as research.
What do you think about this? Don Reisinger shared his opinion here. Should consumers have to pay for customer service? Or is Dell defining the line between technical support and customer service?
Monday, December 15, 2008
What do you think? When do your posts go live? How can you take this information and promote your blog?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sony launches online community for PlayStation gamers
The community is something of a virtual clubhouse for PlayStation owners. All registered PlayStation Network users will be able to create their own avatar and then interact with others in a 3D environment. Some are calling this a cross between Facebook and Second Life, but this is really an online community of gamers. Members will be able to chat with and text each other, build their own 'home' and explore those of other members, and take part in mini games and special events.
Building on the popular chat functions that sit alongside many online games, the concept of a central community that allows members to meet and join games has been in development for a number of years. The beta launch of PlayStation Home this week shows us what Sony has to rival Microsoft and to enhance the gaming experience. As Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, says:
PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service. We are committed to providing PS3 users with exciting gaming experiences with PlayStation Home and together with our partners and users, expand the new world of interactive entertainment as we move forward.
So what can we learn from this?
To some extent Sony is providing its gamers with something they have wanted for some time - a way to meet and exchange with other gamers, to easily identify and join multi-player games and to extend and enhance their experience of using the PlayStation.
There has been much discussion over the last couple of days about the actual functionality and use of PlayStation Home. Microsoft called the technology as "outdated" and some features are not yet live - streaming video and music will be in a later release. But overall response from gamers themselves has been quite positive.
Undoubtedly Sony hope that Home will be a success, and for me success would be if they retain gamers for longer periods of time because of this. They can monetise Home quite easily, either by selling functionality or features within the environment itself (such as selling houses or other property to users or taking a cut of peer-to-peer sales). Or they can monetise through charging for downloads, streaming music and video and entry to special events and games. And let's not forget the benefit they might be able to get from advertising if they so desired.
This kind of online community may seem like a clear candidate for success, and it is certainly true that the members share a common interest and goal (something that is critical to success of any community). But perhaps the real marker of success will be if the community fills a real need that the members have. Home needs to focus on gaming and on making gaming, easier, more fun and perhaps more challenging. They're not building a new Second Life (or Facebook, Bebo or anything) as some people have suggested. Rather they've identified a need that their gamers have and are using social media and online communities to help meet this need. Always a good strategy.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Don't fall into these traps:
1) Begin held back by your best practice, or fear of the unfamiliar
2) A mindset that complex and sophisticated search and market understanding, or market approaches that are at the expense of similar but richer ones
What do you think about moves like this? Although Sprint has improved their service, do you think taking away their customer care continue to affect the reality of the situation in a positive light?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Kimberly-Clark is now using the warehouse to link data compiled on its community site with customer profile information, helping it identify its most loyal customers and determine which content they view or tools they use. Thus, the company can serve up the content most sought by the site's users, Hoerter added.
Have you started mining your social networks to find out more about your customers? What have you discovered?
1) Emergence of the social customer
2) The imperative that CRM strategies deliver business value
3) The requirement to fully cost justify CRM investments
4) The necessity to reduce risk of CRM initiatives
5) The need to get more value from customer information
6) The battle to redefine vendor pricing and licensing agreements
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
For more information, read the article.
Monday, December 8, 2008
What do you think? Have you come across this in your customer base?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Do you see this as the customer service of the future? PNC Bank has created a system where the only way they interact with their customer is through a website, but it's very popular with the young consumer, who will domoinate the market in 20 years. What do you think?
Orange launches 'Film Club' online community
I'm a big fan of mobile operator Orange's involvement with film and cinemas in the UK - from their amusing adverts in cinemas (including this with Rob Lowe) to their Orange Wednesdays offer where Orange customers can take a friend to the cinema for free.
To date they haven't formally used social media to engage people around their film associations, but this week they launched The Film Club. In Facebook and Bebo, this 'club' is actually an application that gives users access to free preview screenings, exclusive competitions, trailers, reviews and other film related content. The Club also lets you see which of your friends are taking advantage of the Orange Wednesdays offer, and if you're not an Orange customer you can poke your friends who are and ask them to take you.
For Orange this move is all about capitalising upon their association with film and being seen as providing a place for people to share this passion with them. As Spencer McHugh, head of brand communications at Orange, says:
The new Film Club communities give movie fans on Facebook and Bebo a place to come together and chat about the things they love most.
So what can we learn from this?
At FreshNetworks we talk a lot, and have indeed posted a lot in the past, about the difference between online communities and social networks and about how building a community online is as much about building an actual community of people as it is about doing it online. What Orange have done with their Orange Film Club is to cleverly and astutely leverage social networks (in this case Facebook and Bebo) to help connect their users and act as a portal for all their film-related content and activities. But building a true community in these social networks is notoriously difficult for a brand to do.
People invariably spend time in social networks for very self-centred issues - it's a 'me' place where I upload my photos, plan my events, talk to my friends and join groups that reflect me. From this angle it is clearly a great place for Orange to bring together all of its members who engage with it on film - taking advantage of their offers or watching their content. This one-to-one relationship between Orange and individual fans or customers will continue. Building a real community, where it is these fans who also grow the discussions and content and where they talk to each other and form bonds might prove more difficult.
A community tends to have a common purpose or something they are all contributing to, it tends to have no leaders but everybody (brand and fans alike) being equal members) and it needs careful design and guidance to make it grow and flourish (a bit like a garden can grow on its own but needs a gardener to look at its best). In Facebook (or any social networks) it's difficult to do the latter and as a very public space people are often unwilling to start discussions and build that real community feel.
So if Orange wanted to build and grow a large and flourishing film community, they may find doing it in Facebook or Bebo hard. If, on the other hand, they want to bring together all their activities and fans in this space into a convenient place then things will be much easier to do. I suspect this is what they want - making it easier for both parties to find content and engage on film. However, I hope this is the precursor to something. I hope they are planning an online community here. It could be great, and their brand could really help it to work - online and on the go.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
So you think you have seen and heard enough on the evolution, usage and effectiveness of this phenomenon called Twitter. Present almost everywhere on every social media or marketing centric site- this one topic is an omnipresent feature of today's ubiquitous opinion led conversation culture.
Many businesses and consultants have jumped into utilizing this tool- pushed by the harsh realities of today’s extremely fragmented consumer attention that pans across media.
Since this is causing such a storm, I wanted to do a check- like most marketing ‘hypes’- is this something that is largely US centric? A concern echoed by this post on- the Americanization of the Internet. Or is this a worldwide phenomenon?
Having worked in the Asian digital marketing space for about a decade, I know this is gaining traction very fast. A taste of this was seen recently during the ghastly terror attacks that shook Mumbai (and the world)- when Twitter was full of hash tags related to Mumbai. Ditto on the ongoing stand off in Thailand- though not of a similar scale as Mumbai.
But the issue is – are businesses in Asia using Twitter as a customer engagement tool? The answer from my post – probably not! I did an extensive research across all online social networks- tweeted on my Twitter network, asked questions on Facebook and LinkedIn, researched companies in general on twitter (using Twellow, Twitterlocal and other tools), sent DMs on Twitter- to brands and people with seemingly relevant accounts, researched whom they followed and tried to find if they had easily identifiable Asian accounts as well.
And what I found- as a result of this collective intelligence gathering was that – Businesses are not using microblogging very much in Asia. Full story on Twitter usage by businesses in Asia.
Though there are some interesting case studies in the post, and some interesting people and profiles, the number of businesses participating and using these tools is really quite limited.
Which leads us to the inevitable question- What could be the reasons behind this? Asia is home to most ‘thumb happy’ people in the world (You know what I mean). Billions of text messages flow every month- and every Asian country has its own mobile claim to fame- Phillippines becoming the SMS capital of the world, India exploding at the seams with mobile penetrations- and Vietnam and Indonesia touted as the next mobile tigers. I am not even talking about Korea and Japan, where they do unimaginable stuff (and I mean marketing and conversation wise) with their handphones. China of course has more twitter and iPhone clones than probably the rest of the world’s put together. And again, from Brand perspective- there are multinational companies that are using these tools elsewhere but not in Asia! So the big question is- why?
While the aim of the post was to gather information from the wisdom of the crowds, my top 5 reasons could be:
A) There is not enough traction in the market when it comes to online advertising. It is still treated as somewhat of a novelty and marketing budgets hover from less than 1% to close to 10% in some economies
B) Internet usage has exploded but still mobile-internet usage is relatively a niche and complex concept. Lifestreaming on the go is a novelty at best
C) Because of the above two, businesses are more interested in hygiene activities and hold on to the ‘new’ phenomenon till they start becoming mainstream
D) Marketers are more cautious in general and like to spend in tried and tested tools/vehicles
E) MNC marketing teams by regions do not converse effectively when it comes to marketing innovations (though they do so on marketing best practices I believe)
These are my takes on the results- what are yours? Have you come across any examples of businesses using twitter or any microblogging tool? Even if they are not Asian- do you have any interesting stories to share? Let’s collaborate.
Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip)
One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad.
I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details.
I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been “lying” about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack.
Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, “In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.”
I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, “Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad” instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong.
Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened.
Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a “big box” store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage - when we assume it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’m still embarrased.
Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around - half the audience did.
It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary.
I am truly humbled by the experience.
Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an “Authentic Experience” and I’ll tell you - my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes.
Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week - the most important of which were those I learned about myself.If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
What do you think about this? One of the major reasons Pharma companies don't do market research is because the fact that market research comes so early in the chain of events leading to a project launch – it is far removed from the end result. What do you think? Do you agree with this?
Even though the company is going out of business, they're still not treating their customers with much respect. What other ways have you seen customer service falter due to the current economic situation?
Monday, December 1, 2008
What do you think about Facebook's newest tool? Will it result in another Beacon or will Facebook users begin to warm to the social web?
-They may be failing to understand the customer. Who is your customer? Do you realize that 20% of your customer base generates 80% of your profit?
-They may be failing to support an external customer centric strategy by not having an internal customer centric strategy. It's important to have your employees at the center of your company first so they can then turn into the face of your customer-centric company.
- They may be failing to identify the moment of truth. Companies may have problems measuring their customer service strategies.
Bill Bittner, president of BWH Consulting of Mahwah, New Jersey, states "Measuring coupon effect is not done in a vacuum. It's difficult to sort out the single effect of a coupon. There are so many factors that affect performance, the general economy being the big one today, I don't know how you isolate."
To conduct this specific research, APT advocates that tests and controls be set up for retailer-CPG colalboration, by dividing a chain's loyalty cardholders into many test groups to receive different offers, based on thier prior spending patterns. The controls are samples held out from each of these group to not receive a particular offer.
Then, the researchers must look at both the tests groups and the controls. Find out more about these tests here.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
How do you get over road bumps like this in your focus groups?
They provided three strategies:
- Refresh and update content constantly. Changing content frequently and updating feature page elements on a regular basis give users a reason to return over time.
- Expose value immediately. Delivering clear calls to action and interactive cues help draw young visitors into experiences right away.
- Provide frequent feedback. Presenting notifications, rewards, and other feedback to users throughout an experience keeps them alert and engaged.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Watch the video here:
Monday, November 24, 2008
He listed several reasons why he believes they're here to stay:
1. Personal expression
2. Stories not covered or ignored by mainstream media
3. Show case personal talent
4. Building Personal brands
5. Social Causes and non profit Fund Raising
6. Evangelistic blogs
7. Keeping in touch with customers
For a more in depth look at why he sees these as important factors, read here.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sydney uses MySpace to attract visitors
This week saw the launch of MySpace MySydney, a community for people who want to move to Sydney on a working visa. The page pitches itself as an online community and 'Ben' is your host (he's the one on the video on the homepage). The site contains information on how to get a visa, travel information, advice on Sydney as a place to live and work and also aims to be a hub for networking with others in the same situation as you.
The site is from the Tourism New South Wales who are hoping to capitalise upon recent changes in the work and holiday visa regulations for US students. It's now easier than it was for those from North America to get these visas and this MySpace site supports a wider marketing and social media push accompanying the change.
So what can we learn from this?
We've covered a lot of travel initiatives recently in the Social Media Diary - from BA's Metrotwin, to Amex's community for travel managers and Air France-KLM's Bluenity. Travel is certainly an area where social networking and online communities are being used more and more to engage people. We see this at FreshNetworks, where the latest community we helped to launch this week is for a big UK travel brand. Travel has a number of great hooks for activities in social media - some people need information and have questions that other users can answer based on their experiences, it's a subject that lends itself well to media and there is the opportunity for connecting people doing similar things in similar places. We're seeing different travel brands trying different things - from setting up their own online communities, to interacting with people on Facebook or MySpace, providing social networking tools or just blogging.
Some of these initiatives are successful and some aren't. What it seems that Sydney hope to achieve with this site is to present a lot of genuinely useful information in a way that is relevant to their target audience. They also hope to leverage some social networking - getting people in similar situations to get together, meet each other, share ideas and thoughts and between them build the usefulness of the site. This is an interesting proposition and I'll be following how it pans out. Whilst I can see the clear benefit of the marketing and informational element of the site, I'll be watching to see how (and in fact if) the social networking side of the proposition develops.
Whilst we often say that it is difficult for a brand to get a real presence in a social network, there is a real power of social networks to help people find others going through the same situation or with similar interests to them. It may be that getting people considering a move to Sydney to meet each other in MySpace might just work. We'll wait and see.
The next generation is particularly tech savvy, and a recent social media campaign for Twilight has proven that networking with your audience can prove that good social networking can turn into revenue. The social media campaign that involved widgets and networking resulted in a soundtrack that was #1 on the Billboard charts before the movie was released, high pre-sales in movie tickets and a continual presence in the best selling category for the books. Read more about it in The Standard.
The soundtrack marketing effort has been highly successful, ranging from videos released on author Stephenie Meyer's site to exclusives available for fans depending on format and place of purchase: iTunes has a digital booklet and three additional songs, while the physical CD contains a poster from the movie, with several different posters randomly placed in the CD cases.
There was also significant buzz created by exclusively debuting the trailers online for the fans.
Online ticket sales are booming as well, spurred by everything from movie trailers debuted exclusively at different sites to widgets available for social networking sites. Those who purchase presale tickets from MovieTickets.com or Fandango receive a code for a free music remix from iTunes.
Why do you think this is such a big social media phenomenon? We already wrote in August about this community with the book series, and now it's translated into revenue for the movie industry. Now this social media and networking has translated into revenue for the record industry and Hollywood. What can you take from this example and use for your campaigns?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The are many ways for a company to encourage or discourage participation in their community just by the way employees behave in the community, the way the community is facilitated, and how the infrastructure is maintained. There are a few things you can do to help ensure that the community successful, while other activities are likely to drive the community away. This post will cover both the do's and don'ts along with some tips for maintaining a successful community.
What makes a community work
Being open and transparent. Being as open and transparent as possible will improve trust within the community. It often helps to explain the “why” behind some of your decisions to avoid being seen as closed or defensive. In general people are more understanding, especially about difficult topics if you can explain why the company responds in a certain way.
A company who listens (to good and bad). It is easy to listen and respond when people say nice things about you or your company, but you should also be responding when people complain or provide negative feedback. The key is to respond constructively with something helpful: a suggestion, information about upcoming changes, or just a simple thank you.
Actively engaged in the community. The company should not dominate the community, but they should be actively participating by creating new content, responding to feedback, and in general being visible in the community.
Encouraging new members. Whenever possible, welcome new members of the community, especially if they are particularly actively in the community.
Making it easy for people to participate. Reduce the barriers to entry for people to participate and make it as easy as possible to join the community. Allowing people to view content before joining and a simple sign-up form with very few required fields can go a long way toward reducing the barriers to participation.
Integration into other relevant areas of the site. In most cases, it is simple to pull information from your community into static areas of your website. This makes your static website seem less static, and it drives more people to your community when they see a piece of content that they are interested in reading. For example, if you have a static page describing your efforts in sustainability, you could pull the 5 most recent blog posts or discussions from the sustainability section of your community into a sidebar on the static page.
What to avoid
Community is lip service. People can tell when a company creates a community to give the appearance of listening, while not really considering it a serious endeavor. If you aren't serious about engaging with your community, then you might be better off not spending the effort to create one.
Pushing marketing messages. When pushing marketing messages out to the community members takes precedence over 2-way conversations and collaboration, you will start to see your community disappear. A community is about conversations between people, and you can talk about your products, but it should be done in a relevant and conversational tone, instead of sounding like a pitch or advertisement.
Deleting the negative. You should be responding to criticism, not deleting it. Again, communities are about conversation. If people feel like you are putting duct tape over their mouths when they express anything negative about the company, these people will simply leave their negative comments somewhere else on the internet where it is likely more people will see the criticism and not hear your side of the story.
Barriers to collaboration. Community software, configuration, or policies can often create barriers to collaboration. Configure the software to make it easy for people to find content and sign up for the community. Your policies should create guidelines for use that help keep the community healthy without being so heavy handed that people aren't interested in participating. Flickr's community guidelines are a good example of how to write guidelines that are simple and even fun to read.
Neglected communities. Nobody wants to participate in a corporate community where no one in the company monitors or responds to questions or feedback. There are too many of these floating around the internet, so make sure that you have the resources to give your community care and feeding over the life of the community.
No community is perfect
You need to keep in mind that no community will ever be perfect: things will go wrong; your community software will have bugs; and people will get defensive or irate. In addition to the internal factors in the community, there are external influences that can creep into the community. Companies have PR nightmares that drive people into the community in droves to complain, but in great communities, the company responds effectively, addresses the issue, and works to resolve it quickly. When you have one of these crisis situations, keep the focus on summarizing and fixing, instead of blaming and justifying. Maintain open communication channels and deal with these imperfections and issues as quickly and openly as possible.
What are your favorite tips to help companies have great communities?
If you are interested in reading more of my content, you can find it on the Fast Wonder Blog.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
In a conversation with GQ, Mark Zuckerberg reveals that he hopes Facebook will one day broadcast its users very emotions. Alex French probes him on this issue in the following exchange:
(12:25 p.m.) Alex: How’s things?
(12:25 p.m.) Mark: There’s this definite evolution happening. Where the first part of the social web was mapping out the social graph. And the second phase is now mapping out the stream of everything that everyone does. All of human consciousness and communication.
(12:29 p.m.) Alex: Imagine if you could broadcast people’s emotions into a feed?
(12:30 p.m.) Mark: I think we’ll get there.
(12:30 p.m.) Alex: So how are you going to map all of human consciousness and communication?(12:30 p.m.) Mark: We don’t map it directly. We give people tools so they can share as much as they want, but increasingly people share more and more things, and there’s this trend toward sharing a greater number of smaller things like status updates, wall posts, mobile photos, etc. A status update can approach being a projection of an emotion.
(12:31 p.m.) Alex: That’s what I use it for.
(12:31 p.m.) Mark: So it’s not so crazy to say that in a few years people will be doing a lot more of that. It takes time for people to be comfortable sharing more and for the social norms to change.
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Thursday, December 4th from 3:00 to 4:00pm GMT
Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREEurope
Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 2:00 to 3:00 EST
Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREUSA
Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/694919174
About the web seminar:
Naming research can be particularly challenging, with different types of needs depending where you are in the naming process. In this webinar, using case studies as examples we will explore three unique online techniques that address different challenges in naming research:
IDQ, an online interactive ideation process in which consumers create and evaluate names in real time in response to a product concept. We’ll demonstrate how we generated and sorted hundreds of names in a very short period of time.
·eCollage, a highly engaging online quantitative exercise in which respondents create an online collage that communicates what a name means to them and the imagery and associations it evokes. This enables us to go beyond a name’s obvious descriptive and feature-focused characteristics to its underlying emotions and associations.
Configurator, a unique building platform for gaining quantitative understanding of naming options in context. Using this technique, names are presented in an online interactive exercise where respondents select the preferred name, icon, color and other packaging elements. Respondents decide which are most appealing and meaningful to them when imagining the products on shelf and then provide insight into why they prefer those elements.
What you will learn by attending:
New, fast and effective research methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming.
i. Name ideation: IDQ engages respondents in an exercise that generates hundreds of new name possibilities - and provides an initial evaluation and stratification of those names.
ii. Name Imagery and Communications: eCollage helps you understand emotions, images and associations that respondents have to certain names.
iii. Name selection: Configurator engages respondents in an inactive exercise that requires them to select one of several name options and then build other packaging elements around that name.
About the speaker Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Product Development, BuzzBack Market Research
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A lot of those sparks this week were about Service Design.
As customer management professionals we are obsessed with perfecting the services we support:
- Getting our people psyched to best represent our company to the customer
- Getting the right metrics in place to drive the right behaviors,
- Getting the variation out assuring an experience that is repeatable
- Getting the cost of servicing down while keeping the quality up.
But is that all there is?
From the buzz this week at the Customer 1st Conference - things are changing.
A thread running through many conversations this week has been about Service Design.
Don't just make the service better, remake the service. We are talking scary but cool – the infamous blank slate. And this conference was charged with the possibilities.
Of course improvement and redesign are related, but the change in emphasis is on what we are improving. We are more focused now on improving the customer experience than on the processes we currently use to deliver service. That great customer experience may not require ANY of the processes we currently spend a lot of time and money to make just a little bit better.
And yet, that great experience may be the key to the loyalty we almost mystically seek even while we argue a lot on how it can really be measured.
From Bill Price's opening thoughts on Sunday that maybe "the best service is no service," to a talk I heard yesterday on GSK's approach to semi-automating internal IT service delivery (I highly recommend you download this talk) - to a dinner table conversation last night about what's next in service - the possibilities for re-inventing service seem endless and the results for the customer can be what Tom Peters taught us to call WOW.
As I chatted with others this week on this topic I heard a lot of excitement, but also a bit of fear. Are the teams we lead a part of this brave new world? How do we as leaders get out in front before this wave (whatever it is) overtakes us. And there was a recurrent counterpoint in these discussions - the mantra from Day 1 - "Remember, it's all about the people."
In each of these conversations the paradoxes and the possibilities seemed to resolve towards the end. As with most problems, the answer lay within a clear statement thereof.
We weren't talking about one thing. We were talking about many things, many types of customer experiences - too often all mixed up together and measured with averages we know in our gut don't mean much.
Some experiences are and need to be very people intensive - those Disney magic moments. For others, like the GSK IT Service Catalog we just need to put the power into the customer's hands and let them do the driving.
The key, many said this week, was dreaming big about the customer experience, wondering what it could be...and then asking if you had the best service design to deliver it.