Friday, May 30, 2008

Videos Increase You Chances of Selling

In a recent report at Reel SEO, they shed light on the effects of videos of websites when trying to sell something. As advertising and marketing across the internet continues to grow, new studies have come about one industry that could be changed by the presence of video marketing on the internet.

According to Reel SEO, according to a study done by FindLaw, when people were surfing the internet to a lawyer, they, on average, visited five websites before choosing a lawyer. When there was a video added to the site, average sites visited before choosing a lawyer went down to 1.8 websites visited.

They were more likely to choose to buy they lawyer’s services if they could put a name with the face.

Chipolte Reaches out to Customers Through Blogs

Recently, in a San Diego Chipotle, there was an outbreak of Hepatitis A. The restaurant in La Mesa, California has seen 18 cases, according to this article here at

Mitch Wagner, a blogger at Business Week, took to his personal blog and explained the situation. So, when he received a reply to his post about this hepatitis A breakout from a Chipotle employee, he began to enquire as to their social media approach to winning back the faith of the fans. The Business Week blog article can be found here.

Joe Stupp, a manager in Customer Services, started finding blogs of those people who had written about their perceptions on the Hepatitis A cases. He responded to them individually through the comments. His care for his company came out in this particular email:

But in this particular instance, we were concerned about local perceptions, and we wanted to try to disseminate as much of the information we know that we can to hopefully help folks feel a little safer about visiting our restaurant.

As Joe has taken the time to reach out to the community of Chipotle customers at that location, he reached out to them through a means that they affiliated with. It’s another case of a company taking the time to communicate with the customer on their level. This is a great example of a company using social media.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Disconnects between C-Level Execs and Customer Service

This article on Marketing Charts displays the latest result from this customer service survey compiled by Genesys Telecommunications Lab. According to this survey, there is a disconnect between what C-level executives promise and what customer service can actually deliver.

Here are some common misconceptions CEO’s have as stated my Marketing Charts:
Most C-level executives underestimate the emphasis their organization places on efficiency, and overestimate how easy their organization makes it for customers to purchase during interactions.
There is a major (16 percentage point) gap between C-level execs who believe they are capturing important customer feedback, and the views of customer service professionals.
Some of the cures mentioned include adding a “click for a call back” capability and improving existing systems to provide real-time customer data across the entire enterprise infrasctruture.

UK and US Citizens have same view on the Environment

In a recent study by Project Green, detailed here at Brand Week, researchers found that those surveyed in the United States and the UK had relatively the same views on the environment. One in three surveyed knew of the term sustainable, throughout both the US and the UK.

Project Green’s goal was to find out what people in both countries to survey their emotions and feelings on the current state of the environment. Nineteen percent of those surveyed stated that they would sacrifice certain things in order to save the environment.

Other views surveyed were:

U.S. vs. U.K. consumers who:
• Recycle paper: 71% vs. 87%
• Purchase recycled paper: 55% vs. 47%
• Walk rather than drive short journeys: 36% vs. 56%
• Own or lease a hybrid: 4% vs. 1%

Social Media Spending is on the Rise!

When marketers were surveyed in this latest eMarketer article, over 78% said that they would increase spending during the next three years on social media tactics. More marketers are planning to increase social media budgets than direct e-mail and mobile texting, which were the other two mobile marketing tactics included in the survey.

As social ad spending is expected to grow from $1.4 billion this year to an estimated $2.4 billion in 2011, the focus will ultimately shift away from direct e-mail. Even though e-mail will not go away anytime soon, it only offers a 2-way communication. Social media is a breeding ground for recommendations to products, referrals to services, and it allows marketers to truly target niche groups. Businesses are beginning to truly embrace the power of communities.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Citizens Lives Change as Online Participation Grow

In a recent post at Criss Crossed, Christian Kreutz, identifies the ways that citizens have become more involved in the world due to the fact that the internet is everywhere.

First off, people are always online. With the blackberry constantly connecting to the internet, you’re always connected to somebody through social networking sites, there’s a feeling of protection.

Second, interaction can come from everywhere, whether it’s next door or in China. This can facilitate interaction, coordination and organization throughout the world, whether its through businesses or friends making connections. This has the most impact, according to Kreutz, in Africa and Asia where mobile phones are the primary tool used to conduct business in Africa and Asia.

Lastly, anyone can broadcast from anywhere. Citizens can pick up a video camera and tell their point of view from any computer terminal in the world. These real life portrails can often have more impact than the nightly news or reading about it on the New York Times.

As the Internet continues to grow, more and more ways to facilitate communication will come about. Whether it’s broadcasting the latest news from You Tube, or constantly Twittering about happenings in your daily life, these new ways to broadcast information to the world will continue to shape our future.

Social Media and Market Research Go Hand in Hand

Marketers have long used demographics compiled by market research firms, but social networking sites provides a great opportunity to access information in real-time.

David C Skul, CEO of Relativity, details a couple of points in this YouTube video Use Social Networking for Market Research

  1. Direct feedback and direct sampling groups are one of the benefits of social networking sites. Businesses can easily send mass messages to all of their friends asking for honest opinions on products and services. Rewards may be given as an incentive for people to give their feedback.
  2. Polls can be created in networking sites, given users an opportunity to vote amongst several choices. This is one of the quickest ways to compile information.
  3. Demographics such as name, age, gender, and income are shown on networking sites, and in turn it helps to ensure that messages are reaching targeted groups.

Are you using social media in your organization to find out more about your customers? Take a look at this informative video. It’s a must see…

Customer Service Innovation: How to get there

In a recent blog post at Creativity At Work, they highlight ten ways to stay in the game when it comes to service innovation and keeping your customers at the center of the customer service strategy.

The ten reasons listed were:

1. Approach Service as if you were the customer -- See what part of your business customers are having the most trouble relating to, or the most difficult part of the shopping process you put them through. Fix those parts of the process.

2. Create a process map and identify service bottle necks – What are the steps, processes and people that a customer comes to your business? If you see the whole process, and identify the troubled points, the whole company can see what they can adjust to make the service better.

3. Work backwards from the ideal state to a solution. Find where you want to be, and work from that solution down to fix the service in your company. If you start a beginning point, it’s very easy to get off track and not end at that solution.

4. Benchmark to establish standards and reference points. See what other companies are doing to measure and make their service better throughout the company. Strive to be like those best companies.

5. Copy the innovations of industry leaders: Customers look for consistency when shopping with companies. See how other companies are finding and keeping customers through the consistency with their services.

6. Measure and monitor current levels of service: Survey the customers to find their levels of satisfaction, and this will also show where the company is not pulling their weight in certain categories of service.

7. Solicit ideas from employees: Brainstorm with your employees to find out what they know the customers to want. They’re in constant contact with the customers and could have a potential solution to that one thing you’re having trouble with.

8. Solicit ideas from your customers: It’s your customers you’re trying to please, so find out what you could do to make them happy through market research, customer surveys and other means.

9. Seek an outside perspective: Look to other who have no idea of the situations your dealing with. Their clear view could help you find the solution.

10. Employ performance tools like a Balanced Score Card: Find a way to link your service measurement to your company strategy. This process needs to be measured in order to know if you’re making progress.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Market Research Event 2008

If you haven’t had a chance lately, we’d like to direct you to the Market Research Event website. Not only are there videos from presentation of last year’s event, but a webinar that was recently televised by the IIR and a monthly book list! Check out the resource page here.

Also, see whose going to be speaking at The Market Research Event October 13th through 16th in Anaheim, California.

Zappos Take on Customer Care

In a recent post at the Mavericks at Work blog, Bill Taylor sheds light on the customer strategy that the growing Internet shoe brand has to keep its customers. Tony Hsien, the president of Zappos, took time to explain the procedures that were taken to ensure customers were the first priority of the brand. Currently, Zappos ships over four million pairs of shoes a year and is expected to reach $1 billion in revenue this 2008 year.

Since this is an internet company, Zappos focuses on allowing the customer have a good customer experience while never having an actual store, so they focus on the call centers. Contrary to most other internet sites, they have their 1-800 number on every page. When you pick up the phone and call, you’ll be greeted by a living, breathing, customer service employee. Zappos a different approach to training these customer service representatives. They are trained for four weeks while being paid a full salary. Two weeks into the process, every employee is offered what they’ve made the last two weeks as well as a $1000. Hsieh believes that those who turn down this truly show the characteristics of the employees Zappos wants to have behind their name.

Zappos is a company that focuses on it’s relations with the customer. It also belives it’s employees happiness and availability to please the customer. As a result, in the call centers, there are no scripts and the employees can take any action in order to please the customer.

The blog concludes with this thought:

It’s a small practice with big implications: Companies don’t engage emotionally with their customers—people do. If you want to create a memorable company, you have to fill your company with memorable people.

Foreign Policy Embraces Social Networking

Recently in Social Media Today, Angelo Fernando pointed out how the State Department is reaching out to the world through the means of social media. The US Department of State has created a blog, and they are constantly describing what they’re doing in the world. Most importantly, it’s written so that everyone can understand what’s going on with the State Department and they’re a human side to the government. You can find the blog, Dipnote, here.

Angelo also pointed out that a recent speech given by Condaleeza Rice was posted on the site via a You Tube video:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reaching Out to Your Customers

In a recent post at The Social Organization Rachel Happe discusses how to influence social media in an organization.

The most important part of social media is creating better relationships. However, with this new speed that social media brings to organizations, we can build better relationships faster and start doing business faster.

Rachel Happe believes that the best way to bring this into the organization is through a small, enthusiastic group of people. And then focus on creating the important relationships with those who share interests. Are you going to focus your networking with other businesses or are you reaching out to your customers and inviting them to take part in your product line?

The Customer Experience

In a recent blog post at Customer Think, Mei Lin Fung tells a story about her friend’s customer service experience at Whole Foods. The outstanding customer service will gain Whole Foods more business through the customers word of mouth communication than any advertisement for the store ever will.

It is very important that a company always pays attention to customer at every touch point. With this story of the manager helping the customer personally find a recipe not available in the store, and then finding all of the ingredients, it shows that the manager truly cares about the customer. It is important to have employees who have respect for the customer, other employees, and have a genuine belief in the product.

A customer will come back into your store because of the treatment they receive from the employees. It’s critical to know that you have this touch point taken care of.

Growing Sleep Disorder Market

In a recent report released at the Research Reports Blog, they discuss the growing opportunities in the sleeping disorder medication market. Over 80 sleep disorders have been identified, and it is believed that 20% of the American population suffers from these disorders. Visiongain believes that by 2012, the world insomnia market will be worth $1.8 billion.

Most of the drugs on the market are to treat the sleeping disorder insomnia. Since 2005, two new drugs have been introduced to the US market: Ambien CR and Lunesta. There are also a number of generic drugs that cost significantly less, leading to easy market penetration.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quality More Important than Price

In a recent research report released by B2B International, they find that quality, not price is the most important thing for the items they buy.

The five hygiene factors that influenced purchases were: service, price, quality, reliable delivery and speedy delivery. This survey was among industrial companies and there preferences when choosing a new supplier. However, most companies in the industry rely on quality to reflect the quality of their products. It’s also shown that customer loyalty develops in this industry, due to the quality of the products purchased. This research showed that quality always ranks first, in every industry. Check out the full report here.

Build Trust with Your Customers

In a recent blog at Think Customers, they list four key ways to build trust with customers. Communication must bet constant between your employees and your customers. It is essential to capitalize on every touch point with customers to build their trust.

  1. Trust converts noise to dialogs. Those leaders or companies who listen to their customers, and turn around an implement what customers want are often the most trusted ones.
  2. Empower the people behind the brand. It’s the people behind the brand that are going to foster this trust. Empower your employees and let them know they’re doing a good job.
  3. High trust equals high innovation and speed. With good employees, they’ll be able to collaborate and work together in order to bring innovation to your company faster.
  4. Remove generational issues, diversity and retention. It is essential to build this trust between generations. Communicate with everyone, and let them know you’re listening.

What Happens in Vegas... C20 Wrap Up

Welcome to Hell Week

I've been a road warrior during the last few months and I can tell you, there is nothing sexy about it. Don't get me wrong, I've stayed in nice hotels, eaten decent meals, met with interesting (and sometimes famous) people. But it gets tired fast. Anyone that travels a lot knows what I'm talking about. You miss your family. You find yourself completely in reactive mode when it comes to work. Meetings get pushed off, and then pushed off again. Your sleep suffers.

Last week was worth it though. We had what we affectionately call "Hell Week" out in Las Vegas. Four conferences (Community 2.0, Warrillow Summit, ACORD/LOMA, Sirius Decisions) in five days including three keynotes from our chairman, two panels that I participated in, dozens of podcasts, video interviews and sponsorships at each event. It was exhausting but really ended up being a "tour de force" for both Mzinga, and We Are Smarter.

To hear some of the podcasts that Jim, Bryan Person (our client and podcast producer) and myself did while we were at Community 2.0, head over to Jim's blog. You can also see a complete list of the podcasts here on the C20 blog. The videos will be coming soon.

My colleague, Shannon took a number of pictures that are up on Flickr (I have a bunch I need to post too - also coming soon).

Here are some high level observations from the Community 2.0 Conference:
  • Great collection of smart community people. I knew a number of the speakers/attendees already because of last year's event, my We Are Smarter podcasts or Bill Johnston's ForumOne events. I did meet a few new peeps which is always fun.
  • One of the highlights of the trip was picking up Charlene Li of Forrester at the airport at 12:30 AM on Tuesday so that we could podcast with her. I think she thought my colleague, Jim Storer, and I were slightly crazy but she was a good sport about it.
  • We held a disco/bowling party Tuesday night for clients and friends of Mzinga. It was really quite amusing and we bowled our ASSES off. By the end of the night, I wasn't half bad. I will say this much though, real bowling and bowling on the Wii are not even in the same universe from a skill set perspective.
  • David Weinberger is an incredibly brilliant but shy person. He's much more self aware than people give him credit for and his keynote was brilliant. I had the pleasure of podcasting with him and talking with him for about 45 minutes at the Community 2.0 kickoff party Monday night. At one point in the conversation, he said "STOP INTERVIEWING ME!" I laughed and told him it was hard - my job is to ask people questions. He and I joked about it his brutal honesty for the rest of the conference - he apologized - I told him he was just keeping me honest.
  • Tony Hsieh of Zappos is an incredibly cool dude. He is one of the most social media-savvy CEO's I know (Jason Calacanis excepted). We podcasted with him as well and got to ask him questions my wife wanted answers to. One such question was "why does your UI kind of suck?" I didn't put it quite that bluntly but his answer was, "we're fixing it and tell your wife to go to" (beta version of the site).
  • I also had some great conversations with KD Paine - the queen of social media measurement (we did a video interview), Rachel Makool of eBay, Peter Friedman of Liveworld, Mike Walsh of Leverage Software, Shel Israel, and many many more smart social media peeps.
I didn't take a ton of notes but here are some take aways I jotted down during Charlene Li and David Weinberger's sessions:

Charlene Li's Keynote: May 13 (Community 2.0 Conference)

Reviewed Groundswell and why it matters:

Case studies:
  • Del Monte - Market research for their dogfoo (pdf) - people give great, immediate, feedback
  • Tivo Community (didn't own it - but they participate)
  • BlendTec - Will it Blend videos were a great way to
  • P&G's - great way to get research on teen girls use of tampons (it's a site focused on teenage girl things, not feminine products) - math in the book shows lifetime profit/girl that buys is $480 (girls tend to stick w/ brand they started with)
  • E&Y - doing a great job with their Facebook presence - great at having conversations with recruits
  • Fiskars - Scissors used in scrapbooking - went out and asked "what question do you think of when you hear 'Fiskars'" - response was "beige" - Fiskars didn't like this so worked with "Fiskateers" (WOM advocates) - saw a correlation between activity and in local forums and local store sales
  • Dell - support forums - "Predator" spends 40 hours/week answering questions about optical drives for Dell customers (is not an employee) - asked him why and he said "I really enjoy helping people.
  • Blueshirt Nation - (great podcast) employee communities - great for internal innovation, information sharing.
  • Starbucks innovation - currently soliciting feedback via idea catcher - they respond!

- Talked about ROI of executive blogging - for $285K spent (estimates) by GM on Fastlane blogs, ROI was $353K.

- Dell - talked about Jeff Jarvis' "Dell Hell"/flaming laptop precipitating a blogging team (lead by Lionel Menchaca) - in spite of tons of negative intitial feedback, Dell stuck with it (Mike Dell e-mailed Lionel in the thick of things at 1:00 AM to tell him that he was doing a great job!)

- Charlene asked how many of us know how many customer touch points we have? We should be asking ourselves this question.

David Weinberger's Keynote: May 13 (Community 2.0 Conference)

  • A real community is a group of people that care about each more than they really need to
  • Real conversations are voluntary, open-ended, in your own voice
  • Imagagine the worst boss (show's Dick Cheney)
  • Showed laughing baby from Youtube - convserations are facilitated by passing around consumer generated content
  • Everything we do is social (60K comments on the laughing baby video on Youtube)
  • Web/conversations online are important during the "age of conversation" in the "age of information" - we can now go to the end user to ask them questions like, "how's the Mini in the winter in Boston?"
  • Informationalization - "Statement - DNA is not information" (we show ourselves views of DNA over and over again as information) but it really isn't what DNA looks like. It's not information (the world is made out of "stuff")
  • Ray Kurzweil - wrote The Age of Spirtual Machines - when will computers be powerful enough so that we can create a perfect model of the brain (by 2029). Ray believes that if he can model the brain, when he dies, he will live on forever. Key is that the model of something "isn't" something. It's just a representation.
  • Databases are great, but...
  • LOC receives 7,000 new books/day - they have a system for this but this isn't scalable. There are tens of millions or hundreds of millions of items updated to the Web every day.
  • Control doesn't scale (at least not well - China is finding this out now). You need to spend all your time trying to "control" - the Web was built so that it didn't require centralized control - this allowed it to grow, scale and ultimately succeed (we didn't need to figure out a way to manage 60K comments on a laughing baby video)
  • Too much abundance (good and bad) on Web - we manage e-mail in spite of the spam.
  • First order: Filling cabinet (one person's filing system)
  • Second order: file card library (group organization analog style) - ensures that we must throw out most of the content in order to keep things organized
  • Third order: Amazon is able to do this with data using tag clouds, taxonomies, links, and all sorts of other types of meta data (basically) - user reviews

- KEY: Users are now in charge of the organizing of information - (We companies let customers organize - ME companies still insist they control and that they are in charge)

- Library of Congress put up 3,000 pictures on Flickr that they weren't able to categorize - end-users added dozens of tags and comments to these pictures (Flickr, only allows for 75 tags - people "hacked" comments to add additional tags)

- With newspapers, only one front page is possible. In digital world, blogs, forums, Twitter, digg and many other social media activities are all new front pages!

- Talked a bit about the importance of Twitter.

- Britannica works but doesn't scale. Couldn't get to Wikipedia's scalle (millions of posts/entries in just five years)

Twitter/blog coverage and from the event:

If you know of other stuff I'm missing (I'm sure there's plenty) please let me know via comments or DM me on Twitter.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Podcast conversation with Rachel Happe, IDC

Rachel sat for me early in the conference to share her thoughts on what we'd learned so far from the presentations, how "getting to the Aha! moment" is important in every community initiative and how companies can get started in social media. She's also doing some interesting research and developing models to help determine the key levers of successful community. Read more about this on her blog. Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

Podcast conversation with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh

In speaking with people after Tony's keynote, it became clear they found his message inspirational, but not necessarily helpful in their journey with community. I didn't have a great response to this until I saw slide in Patti Anklam's presentation the next day. She talked about the roles of an old ceo vs new ceo." specifically, the old CEO leads the company vs. the new CEO, who helps to create a sharing culture. That's when it clicked for me. Tony's a great example of what it means to be a CEO in the current business climate. This article (shared by Tony via Twitter this morning) is another example of that process in action. Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

Podcast conversation with Rachel Makool and Matt Warburton

By Jim Storer

Both Rachel Makool (eBay) and Matt Warburton (Yahoo) have extensive experience in building/managing community and it shows in this hallway conversation. They confirm how important it is the connect with other community managers to benchmark your efforts and learn from their mistakes. Rachel also suggests how important it is to understand the precedents you set with your community - they'll expect you to follow through. Matt talks about how valuable community is as a feedback mechanism for Yahoo. Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

Marketing to Girls: Most companies are missing the point, and the audience

A study performed by 3iying, Inc, a company who focuses on marketing to the millennial generation of girls, has released a report this year that shows that the majority of marketing companies have missed the boat when it comes to getting the newest generation of spenders to buy their product.

Right now, the current generation of young girls is misunderstood. Most marketing campaigns that are targeted towards them do not appeal to their sense. If marketing companies don’t begin to get this new generation, than their losses could extend very far into the future. This study was done by interviewing girls in this age range ad the 3iYing office.

Most girls opinions of the current marketing campaigns are:

--Brands have lost their meaning

--Products are boring

--Advertising and marketing get tuned out

--Retail is frustrating

Marketing is failing to evolve with the modern girl. Contrary to previous generations, they have more advanced needs, desires and confidence levels. They also know they have many options so they are very picky.

So why are they so different?

--They shop differently

--They socialize differently

--They establish loyalty differently

--They entertain themselves differently

--They operate at a faster speed

And what does this leave you to do as a marketer? How do you know what you are suppose to fix? Maybe you should start with what you are doing wrong:

--Lack of relevant information presented

--Wrong expertise

--Multiple disconnections

--Too slow for the modern pace of the girl

--Too manufactured

--Unable to captivate the audience

--Poorly distributed information

--Outdated aesthetics

So 3iYing used the information they found in their study. How has this affected their business? Click here to finish the article and find out.

How to Set Goals for Your Community

In a recent post at the Communiteer, they post about the essential task of setting goals in order to grow your community.

1. Choose one or two areas to focus on -- Communiteer focuses on setting goals that are narrow. With a slim focus, the amount of work is not overwhelming.

2. Write effective goals – Make sure your goals have the ability to be measured and that they can be judged in a certain time frame. Not how to reach your goal, but when you’re going to reach it.

3. Plan how to reach your goals -- How will you achieve your end result in a given time period? It’s about how you get there, not the result in the end.

4. Check progress regularly but not too regularly – See how you’re doing from time to time, but not too regularly. Remember that as you check your results, they’re from week to week, but you’re looking at the overall picture.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gas Prices Affecting Consumer Spending

In a recent news article at Marketing Daily, they discuss the newest research on how high gas prices are affecting the spending habits of Americans. The article notes that expenditures on gas is not going down, but to counter that, consumers are spending less money in other areas. In car sales, every segment is seeing a decrease in the amount of vehicles purchased. Other industries are also being affected, with people not spending as much money on clothing, eating out, and even buying houses, 10% of those surveyed said they were delaying buying a new house.

Thus far in 2008, 65% consumers are spending less on nonessential items, up from 42% in October of 2007. Numbers are not looking to improve, as the article states that gas prices are expected to double from their current price is $3.80 according to AAA.

What’s your customer strategy?

In a recent post at Customers Rock!, Becky Carroll discusses how companies word out their customer strategy. The most companies have product strategies and marketing strategies, but most fail to have customer strategies. But in order to best appeal to the customer it is essential to be customer centric. This should consist of a way acquire, retain, and grow a customer base.

This strategy should determine how we interact with those customers, and specify how customers are treated at every touch point possible. In order to have the best customer centric strategy, a company must agree to all points as well as show consistency in performing the tasks.

So how do you approach your customer strategy?

Community 2.0: Share Your Thoughts

Thanks to all that attended the c2.0 conference this past week. Kristin Paulick, conference producer for the Community 2.0 event recently created this survey to collect your thoughts and opinions. Take the time out to let us know your overall impressions of the event, and what you would like to see next year.

Also, don’t forget to upload any photos you might have taken at c2.0 to our Flickr pool that we’ve created. Make sure to tag them community 2.0.

As always, check back regularly for updates on the Community 2.0 Event and insights on how communities can affect your business bottom line.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Best Advice

In a recent article at Fortune, the sit down with 25 of today’s powerful people in the business world and ask them for the best advice the ever got. Here is some of the advice that I found interesting:

Michael Bloomberg is the Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP.

The advice was, first, always ask for the order, and second, when the customer says yes, stop talking.

Charlene Begley, President and CEO, GE Enterprise Solutions

Spend a ton of time with your customers. Especially when you're new, the first thing you should do is go out to customers and ask them how you compare with competitors, how your service is, what they think of your products.

Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company

The best advice I ever received was to have a point of view about the future that focuses on the customer. Have a point of view. Focus on the customer.

The customer is such an important part of every business. Every action must be taken into consideration, and all should focus on how your customer will like your latest move, action or product. You’re doing business for the customer. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received on appealing to your customers?

Community 2.0 Wants Your Photos!

We want to see your photos you took while attending Community 2.0! We’ve already set up a group here at Flickr. So upload your photos and tag them community2.0. Kristin Paulick, the conference producer, has already added her photos, so check those out. We’re excited to see Community 2.0 through your eyes!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Podcast conversation with Dawn Lacallade

By Jim Storer

We were fortunate to meet and have a conversation with Dell's lead blogger Lionel Manchaca at SXSW earlier this year. He spoke briefly about their Ideastorm, but really focused on sharing best practices around corporate blogging. When I noticed Dawn on the agenda at the Community 2.0 Conference, I knew we had to do a follow up conversation with her. Dawn leads the Ideastorm initiative and the insights she shares in this podcast are essential for anyone considering engaging customers (or employees) in co-creation or idea management. Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

Podcast conversation with David Weinberger

By Jim Storer

It seems to me that David is reluctant legend. His suggestion that "markets are conversations" has become the mantra for the future of the web, yet David prefers not to spend much time talking about it. We arranged a podcast with David following his keyonte at the Community 2.0 Conference, where he shared his thoughts on a variety of topics, including why control doesn't scale, the Library of Congress, The Cluetrain Manifesto back story and the cultural challenges facing companies when they join the conversation. Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

* Flickr photo by Bryan Person.

Podcast conversation with Charlene Li

By Jim Storer

Booking (and connecting for) podcasts can be hit or miss and creativity in scheduling is often rewarded. My colleague Aaron connected with Charlene on the phone several days before the Community 2.0 conference and found out she would only be in Las Vegas for 12 hours. She planned to arrive at midnight on Monday and would leave immediately following her keynote the next morning. Thinking on his feet, Aaron suggested we could pick her up at the airport and have a conversation on the ride to the hotel. Charlene agreed and what follows is the transcript of that conversation, including the sound of a laboring limo, a courteous driver stopping to try to buy a bottle opener (unsuccessful) and terrific insights from the co-author of Groundswell (along with colleague Josh Bernoff). Download this podcast or stream it below.

* Recorded at the 2008 Community 2.0 Conference and cross-posted on Jim Storer's Mzinga blog.

* Flickr photo by Brian Solis.

Friday, May 16, 2008

5 Crucial Steps in Reaching the Teen Customer

I came across an interesting post on Ypulse that highlights Gary Rudman’s 5 tips on what marketers should consider when they are trying to reach teens. Here they are:

  1. Teens are so used to getting everything with a touch of a button, so the message must also be clear and simple. If the message is too hard to understand, then teens will not be able to digest the information and you might lose them altogether.
  2. We live in a technology based world, and so new products must excite and dazzle the youth. You can count the number of teens who do not own an iPod on one hand. Items like jeans, skateboards, and other non-technology based items do not excite teens anymore.
  3. Not only is technology important, but the appearance of the item is important as well. Gary mentions that a sixteen year old boy in a focus group once said, You don't want a girl to see you using a lame, old, ugly-ass cell phone."
  4. Customization is a must-have in reaching teens. MySpace, Facebook, Xbox360 all provide a platform for teens to customize features and skins personally tailored to their individual style.
  5. Portability is king for these tech-crazy teens. Teens want to be able to call, text, listen to music, watch videos, take pictures, and surf the web in all in product. This is the exact reason why the iPhone is a hit amongst teens, not to mention it also is extremely fashionable and appealing.

Hope you enjoy this info!

Social Network Sites Hits Down, MySpace Rules

While social networking sites hits are down 16% from one year ago, the overall majority of traffic still navigates to MySpace. This information was detailed in an article at Read Write Web. MySpace received 73.82% of all social media traffic in April. Facebook was the next most visited site at 14.8%, followed by MyYearbook at 1.33%. MySpace also won the competition of length of time on site, with users increasing their time spent on my space 73% in April.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Podcast conversation with Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston is the chief community officer at Forum One Communications and was a panelist on the Day One session, What Do These Points Really Mean? The Pros and Cons of Community Reputation Systems.

In this podcast discussion recorded on Day Two, Bill talks about the evolution of the Community 2.0 Conference from 2007 to 2008, as well as the state of employment in the online community industry.

Download this podcast, or stream it below.

How about some good old fashioned customer service?

In a post on The Marketing Minute, the discussion of customer service came up. Are they bored with your service? As customers, we are used to ok service as a standard. Even bad service has been accepted into our society. So as marketers, why do we let it slide? Always trying to find a way to keep the customers coming back is the perfect example of why customer service should be more of a priority. Once someone innovates a little and sees that all good customer service takes is being genuine and generally caring about the people who buy your product, the value of your product will go beyond why the customer is buying it, they will keep coming back because of what you’ve done for them in the store.

A current industry dealing with customer services issues is the airline industry. The New York Times wrote an article on this. With most airlines cutting back on leg room, food on board, and even free entertainment options, one airline is striving to be different. Midwest Airlines’ tagline is “The Best Care in the Air.” It’s not hard to see why when according to their website, they were ranked #1 in a variety of categories in the Condé Nast Business Traveler Awards of 2007: #1 Domestic Airline, 2007 (Single Class), #1 Seat Comfort/Legroom, 2007, #1 Food, 2007, #1 Cabin Service, 2007. In a struggling industry, they’re finding a way to give the customers the service they want. Good customer service goes a long way when it comes to attracting and retaining your customers.

The Teen Shopping Experience

An important factor to business success is how effective your communication is with your customers, and potential customers. The main point from this article on Customers Rock is that teens may very well be using other forms of media rather than the company website to learn about new products.

This survey (conducted by Bizreport) tells us that most teens do their purchasing in stores, but where do they find out about all these cool new products. That’s right ladies and gentleman, the World Wide Web. This blogger’s son actually had a tough time viewing the iPod Touch demo on the company site, and that’s when he turned to YouTube instead.

Marketers must first find out where teens are doing their research for products. Then they must assess whether the company website has easily accessible demos and videos, or if they should put together a YouTube video about the product in order to reach customers. What about existing customers? Well, a simple email campaign letting the customers know about their new products would make any teen feel special.

The way in which we reach teens is constantly changing. The simple truth here is that teens are finding information for products on the net, so we must learn to adapt to these changing times in order to effectively communicate on their level.

Building on Community 2.0

These past few days we have delivered a day-by-day playbook on Community 2.0, gathering insights from the event and around the web. Now that the Community 2.0 Conference has come to an end, here are a couple of more resources and post/pre reactions from the c2.0 event that you might find valuable even if you weren’t able to attend the event.

Francois Gossieaux has this post on the Beeline Labs blog on his observations of the event from his opening workshop on Monday.

Dawn Foster from the Fast Wonder Blog, shares her notes on the conference on these posts:

Chris Messina on DiSo at Community 2.0

Jeska Dzwigalski on Second Life at Community 2.0

Shel Israel at Community 2.0

KD Paine’s post on the KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog:

What a difference a year makes in social media

Janet Lee Johnson’s post:

Blown Away by ChocoNancy (@NancyWhite)

This post on Joho the Blog!

Conversational business

The Otter Group’s post:

Community 2.0 Boot Camp: Social Media Playbook

Kevin O’ Keefe’s post on Lexblog: Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

Presenting at Community 2.0 in Las Vegas on Wednesday

This article on the Online Community Report:

OpenID: What will it take to make it mainstream?

Tony Hsieh, CEO of, has uploaded this presentation from the conference on on the importance of “building a brand”.

As always we’ll be posting regular updates as we come across them, but feel free to share any observations/thoughts that might have struck you on the c2.0 event.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Podcast conversation with Betty Sanchez

Betty Sanchez is a Bay Area-based interactive marketing consultant.

In this podcast discussion, Betty offers advice for professionals who are just getting started in online communities.

Download the podcast, or click to stream below.

Podcast conversation with Dan Neely

Dan Neely is the CEO of Networked Insights who led a conference session on Day Two called Customer Engagement: The New Metric and What it Means to Your Business.

In this podcast conversation, Dan explains why companies using social media and building online communities should focus on "passion and pain points."

Download the podcast, or click to stream below.

Podcast conversation with Melany Gallant

Melany Gallant is the director of marketing for Ottawa-based Ramius Corporation.

I spoke with Melany about her impressions of the conference.

Download the podcast, or click to stream below.

Community: 'It’s nothing to do with technology'

Shel Israel has the floor at the start of Day Two of the Community 2.0 Conference, and he has plenty of stories to tell.

Chinese entrepreneur Isaac Mao

Shel has traveled to five continents and 32 countries over the last year, talking with people who are passionate about social media as part of a global survey for SAP. His interviewees have included a blogger, Laurel Papworth, who watches how Saudi women on social networks; an Egyptian human rights activist, Wael Abbas, who risks his life to chronicle police brutality in his country; and a Chinese entrepreneur, Isaac Mao (pictured above), whose every online moved is monitored by the authorities.

And what have those conversations taught Shel? That community has "nothing to do with technology. We're hot-wired ... We are community-oriented people."

Link: Shel's SAP Global Survey interviews.

(Flickr photo by Joi)

Community 2.0 Live and On the Air

Quickly scanning the tweets and blog posts of attendees at our Community 2.0 event, there's quite a bit out there and on our own blog from yesterday.

Some posts across the web:

Cine+octo=boo has this great post:
re-hashing communities 2.0 — day 1

And this from Dawn Foster on her Fast Wonder Blog:
Kellie Parker at Community 2.0
David Weinberger on Community

And Joe Cothrel, Vice President of Community Management Services at Lithium Technologies has added his presentation from the conference up on Slideshare on key success factors in creating an online community for your company:

Stay tuned as our guest bloggers continue to update us from the conference and we’ll continue to search across the web for other insights as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Connecting to community with simple explanations

I'm sitting in on a great session with Lee LeFever from Common Craft and Kevin Flaherty from Wetpaint.

The two are talking about the explanation problem, where companies stumble in trying to explain what a new website/tool/product is and how it works. The solution? Focus on the question "Why should I care?" instead, and address the "real-world pain" facing the community members.

We'll be posting a separate interview with Lee LeFever here on the blog either later or tomorrow.

From information to conversation

Here are just some of the gems from David Weinberger's keynote, The Information Revolution that Wasn't and the One that Will Be: How the New Dimensions of Information are Transforming Business ... and Life (yes, that's the actual title!):
  • Community is a group of people “listening more than they have to.”

  • “We don’t often get to invent new ways of talking to each other,” as we’ve being doing the past 10 years.

  • “Don’t underestimate the subversive power of conversation.”

  • We are coming out of the Age of Information and coming into Age of Conversation.

  • The system that works well in the physical world doesn’t work in the online world.

  • "Of course we’d rather talk to each other than listen to a bunch of blowhards up on the stage.”

  • “Control doesn’t scale very well”

  • Thanks to tagging, “users are in control of the organization of stuff.”

  • "We will fill every space with conversation … We are an insanely social species."

  • "Conversations are smarter than the individual people having them."

  • "Knowledge is not in our heads … it is between us."

'Let's talk about tampons'

Catchy title, eh?

Well, that was name of one of the slides used by Charlene Li in her Community 2.0 keynote, Tapping into the Groundswell, How to Create Your Community Strategy.

Charlene was talking about, an online community created "for girls, by girls" by Tampax, a company in the business of selling tampons.

Tampax used what Charlene called "POST" method in building its community:
  • People – Assess your customers’ social activities
  • Objectives – Decide what you want to accomplish
  • Strategy – Plan for how relationships with customers will change
  • Technology – Decide which social technologies to use
Good listening required

Charlene says that when she's asked, "So how do we get started?" it's usually a sign that companies haven't been paying attention, haven't been listening.

"How dare [they]!" Charlene said. "What kind of company wouldn't want to listen to its customers?"

David Weinberger is speaking next.