Friday, May 29, 2009

Market researchers are optimistic about the future

The Next Gen Market Research blog recently conducted a poll of the market researchers in their LinkedIn group and found a lot of optimism about the coming months for market research. Read the results of his poll here.

6 Reasons Your Customer Service Needs Twitter

Kevin Stirtz of AmazingServiceGuy, writes six reasons why you should implement Twitter use in your customer service.

1. It will bring you closer to your customers.
2. It will make you smarter.
3. It can put you ahead of your competitors.
4. It’s cool.
5. It’s free.
6. It’s new.

Stirtz expands on his reasoning at his original post, which we encourage you to read.

If you are or aren't using Twitter, how do you think the micro-blogging technology with enable businesses to better connect to their customers?

NYTimes Appoints Social Media Editor

The New York Times's has social media editor, Jennifer Preston (NYT_JenPreston). The newly appointed position seems to be an attempt by the old media stalwart to embrace the changing tide (if not a little late) of social media and its impact on news. According to MediaPost, It's nice to sit back and think, well, maybe the paper is trying to embrace social media, taking the view that it needs to run with the bulls or be trampled -- no matter how debased it might make the Gray Lady seem. But the truth is, that the move is probably damage control on a few fronts. First, the reporters and writers were already out there tweeting away. The Guardian, on Ms.Preston's experience says, Preston has impressive experience in traditional journalism both as a reporter and editor, most recently heading up the Times' regional weekly sections. However, while her profile and experience internally at the Times might be high, she has almost no profile in social media journalism circles.

As a social media professional, what do you think Preston's appointment will mean for new and old media?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take Your Customer to Work Day

If you haven't noticed, today is Take Your Customer to Work Day. This post does a great job of discussing why it is important to open up your doors and invite customers into the workplace to meet employees and better understand how your business works.

Bringing your customers to work builds trust, and it also demonstrates the respect your company has for your customers. Customers get to know the company better and the company gets to knows its customers better as well. It's a win-win!

So invite your customers to your shops and stores!

Cashing in on Twitter

For those looking to make extra cash on twitter, Tweetbucks might be your answer. This post on TechCrunch discusses how this startup is hoping to make money for users of Twitter and other social networks. Here's how it works, Tweetbucks offers thousands of online merchant that offer referral fees, all you have to do is select a product and Tweetbucks will shorten the affiliated link for you. These links can then be added to Facebook status updates, tweets, and friendfeeds.

What's the likelihood of this catching on since this will most likely be viewed as spam?

TMRE 2009 Keynote: Steven Sturm

Toyota: Continuous Improvement Through Research

Steven Sturm
Group V.P., Americas Strategic Research & Planning & Corporate Communications
Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Steven Sturm is Group Vice President of Americas Strategic Research and Planning and Corporate Communications for Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA), the holding company for Toyota’s North American sales, engineering and manufacturing operating units. Mr. Sturm is responsible for corporate strategy and planning, strategic research across the Americas, and image research. He is also responsible for corporate advertising and marketing communications, as well as media and investor relations.

Prior to joining TMA, Mr. Sturm was Vice President, North America Planning for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., where he developed strategies for North America and the Western Hemisphere in support of sales, supply objectives, and trade issues.

Sturm served as President and General Manager of Toyota Logistics Services (TLS), Inc., a subsidiary of TMS, where he was in charge of Toyota and Lexus vehicle delivery to dealers, new vehicle processing and accessory installation, Toyota Transport operations, manufacturing parts logistics operations, and the export of North American-produced vehicles to overseas destinations.

Since joining Toyota in 1981, Mr. Sturm has held management positions in parts development, U.S. accessory development, product development, and market/price planning for the Toyota Division. He also was the national distribution, logistics, and sales planning manager; corporate sales planning manager; and corporate marketing manager for the Lexus Division. In addition, Mr. Sturm held the positions of Vice President, New Era Business Project, and Vice President, Marketing, for the Toyota Division.

Prior to his career at Toyota, Mr. Sturm was a Marketing Manager for Hunt-Wesson Foods and a Product Manager for Standard Brands.

Mr. Sturm received an MBA from NYU Stern and a BS in economics from the City University of New York.

Thanks to NYU for their biography of Mr. Sturm.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Free Webinar by MarketTools: Quality Research on a Budget

There are a lot of online survey tools available these days that allow you to do one-off research projects for next to nothing. While these inexpensive tools are relatively fast and easy to use, they don’t always yield quality results on which you can base important decisions. Why compromise? There are ways to do quality research without breaking the bank. Let us tell you how.

Join us to hear how your peers are doing high-quality research on very limited budgets. Our panel of experts will discuss their experiences and provide real-life examples of how they’ve been able to do it. During this one-hour webinar you’ll learn:
  • Five simple guidelines for doing quality research
  • How a panel can reduce your research cost and improve quality
  • What companies are doing to deal with “professional” survey respondents
  • When is it a good idea to call in the experts
  • And much more…
Mike Waite

Chris Schroll, Senior Manager Strategic Research & Analysis, Wolters Kluwer
Pat Merrill, Founder/General Partner, Merrill Research
and other research leaders from Fortune 500 firms

Register below, make sure to mention priority code MWS0025BLOG

NACCM Customers 1st 2009 Full Conference Details Just Released


I'm excited to announce that the 7th annual NACCM Customers 1st 2009 Conference full program details have just been published. It's taking place Nov. 2-5, 2009 at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak in Phoenix, Arizona. NACCM Customers 1st is the most comprehensive customer-centric conference covering everything customer strategy under one roof. Speaking companies include Dell, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, Mastercard Worldwide, Travelocity,, JetBlue Airways, CIGNA, The Hartford and many more. The event has over 40 sessions, 45 corporate practitioner speakers, 3 Chief Customer Officers, 2 Chief Marketing Officers, 2 Chief Experience Officers and 5 visionary authors...the program is more hands-on and results driven than any other customer event.

For more information and to download the conference brochure, visit The earlier you register, the more you save. Register today to save $400.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback on the event. I may be reached at

I hope to see you there!

All the best,
Amanda Powers
Senior Conference Producer
IIR, NACCM Customers 1st Team

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Everyone Works in Customer Service

John Caddell of, has a theory. He thinks that in order to do a proper business, everyone involved in an organization should participate in customer service.

Caddell writes, "EVERYBODY works in customer service. Think of it. Rather than a group of ground-down reps fielding all the complaints and questions, everybody takes a turn. It could be perhaps 10-15% of everyone's job--4-6 hours a week. Computer-aided telephony systems & CRM systems easily support flexible staffs of work-from-home agents and could manage the shift of calls from agent to agent."

Would it "fly" in the American corporate business structure? If everyone is working for the same goal--wouldn't the business succeed?

Customer service is such an important job, perhaps we should spread it around

Market research in a recession

In a recent article at The Harvard Business School, they look at seven steps to reduce the impact of minimized spending when it comes to market research.

They are:
1. Stay focused.
2. Enlist trusted partners.
3. Value experience and judgment.
4. Seize opportunities overseas.
5. Go online with a dash of skepticism.
6. Don't cut across the board.
7. Keep an eye on the new consumer.

Read in-depth about the steps here.

Overuse of Social Networking?

The editors of The New York Times, ask, "Is there such a thing as overuse of social networking tools? In the online world, is the notion of a public/private divide simply not applicable?"

Throughout the post, the editors consulted the following experts in the online social media field:

Clay Shirky, Interactive Telecommunications Program at N.Y.U
Timothy B. Lee, Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy
Susan Mernit, former AOL vice president and blogger
David E. Meyer psychology professor, University of Michigan

Clay Shirky, "Society has always carved out space for young people to misbehave. We used to do this by making a distinction between behavior we couldn't’t see, because it was hidden, and behavior we could see, because it was public. That bargain is now broken, because social life increasingly includes a gray area that is publicly available, but not for public consumption."

Timothy B. Lee, "Many users find these tools inconvenient or hard to use, and some are careless about posting information that could become embarrassing in the future. But we shouldn't be too impatient; the offline world has a centuries-long head start in developing privacy-preserving tools and social conventions."

Susan Merit, "One of the truths of social media that is hard to face is that micro information can be both embarrassing and boring, leading to a terminal case of twittering too hard and to the need to get over yourself. Wondering if you’ve crossed the line? If you have to ask, you probably have."

David E. Meyer, "Excessive multitasking can lead to chronic stress, with potential damage to the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems. Fatal accidents are more likely too. Nobody, not even the inveterate multitasker, is completely invulnerable to these effects. "

After reviewing the comments of these experts, what do you think warrants an overuse of social networking?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Updated TMRE Speaker Profile: Jim Dator

Jim Dator will be a keynote speaker at this year's The Market Research Event. The Market Research Event will be taking place from October 18-21, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will be presenting "How do you Research a Tsunami? A New Era For Market Research."

Dator founded Alternative Futures in 1977, and is currently a professor at the University of Hawaii. He is also the Head of Futures Graduate Option. A collection of the papers he has written is available here. A podcast titles "Four Generic Images of the Futures — Continued Growth, Collapse of Economic Stuctures, Disciplined Sustainable Society, Transformation" is available here.

His major areas of specialization include:

--Political futures studies (especially the forecasting and design of new political institutions, and the futures of law, education, and technology)

--Space and society, especially the design of governance systems for space settlements

--The political-economic futures of North America, the Pacific Island region, and East Asia, especially Japan and South Korea

--Media production and the politics of media-- video, radio, and multimedia production and the effects of these media on political and other human relations and consciousness

He is also: Co-Director, Space & Society Department International Space University, Strasbourg, France.

Fellow and member of the Executive Council of the World Academy of Art & Science,

Secretary General/President of the World Futures Studies Federation, 1983-93.

He was an advisor to the Hawaii State Commission for the Year 2000, and has consulted with state futures commissions for Florida, Oregon, and Illinois. He has been a planning consultant to the state judiciaries of Hawaii, Virginia, Arizona, Massachusetts, Illinois and Kansas, and the Federated States of Micronesia as well as several law firms in Hawaii and on the US mainland.

He has lectured to several thousand general, professional, governmental, business, as well as futurist, audiences in Hawaii and throughout the United States and Canada, and in Costa Rica, Italy, Egypt, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Sweden, Holland, England, North and South Korea, Japan, China, Yugoslavia, Spain, Hungary, Australia, Romania, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Finland, New Zealand and Pakistan.

References: Wikipedia and Muratopia

Target: Using Facebook for good

At Slate, this week they look at the good Target is doing by contributing to the community.

They have two rules:
Rule 1: A corporation should do good.
Rule 2: It should tell everybody that it's doing Rule 1.

To do this, they've created a Facebook Fan Page to let Facebook users choose which charity their money goes to by creating a polling. Watch the video for more info:

Customer service in the airport

At the Jaunted Blog, they recently posted about superior customer service from the airline industry. A rarity in today's day and age, Omri tells about how by circumstance, he missed his flight. After dealing with the front desk and receiving less than satisfactory results when it came to getting on another flight, they entered the terminal, and the United Customer Service professionals exceeded their expectations.

At this point we were desperate and - figuring that the already-mentioned vodka would wash away any latent distaste from begging - decided to try our luck. What happened next was surreal: the woman who helped us turned out to be
cheerful, competent, and helpful. In an airport, of all places.

She managed to confirm us on a flight that left before 10am. She managed to charge us half of the ostensibly mandatory $150 fee. And she managed to do it all in under five minutes. And then as we were leaving, she even asked if we still wanted to wait standby on the next flight.

The end of the article points out that if a customer find the right people to help you with their customer service needs, they will receive the service they are looking for. Now the question is, are you providing enough of these people for your customers?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TMRE March LinkedIn Update

If you haven't had a chance to join our TMRE group at LinkedIn, please do! With over 1,500 members, it's a great place to gain insight from others with Market Research backgrounds. This month we focused on how to build brands using insight. Hop on over to the forums and tell us what you think!

Here are a few articles looking at using insights to build brands:
How-To: Build & Manage Your Brand Identity with Social Media

Storytelling: Using narrative to build your brand

We invite you to jump in and share your insights in the discussion section:
What great brands were born from consumer insights?

How can consumer insights be leveraged to save brands that are declining in today’s recession?

Fast Food Customer Service Scores

Nanette Byrnes of BusinessWeek reports that The University of Michigan's American Customer Service Index is out and Fast Food has scored high marks. According to Byrnes' article, "Fast food, which has been climbing steadily since the mid 1990s, tied last year’s record high customer satisfaction figures “Overall they’ve done quite well in matching what they have, including price, to what a growing percentage of the population want,” says Claes Fornell, head of the index."

With the recession sweeping across the United States, many individuals are turning to fast food as a dinner out instead of traditional quick-serve restaurants like Applebee's, Chili's and Friday's. The new influx of customers may make customer service even more important to gain and retain the new fast food customers.

Byrnes reports that, "McDonald’s, with simple innovations like better coffee, does well by that measure these days. The burger giant was rewarded with a 1.4% climb last year to a score of 70. That’s better than both Kentucky Fried Chicken, which dropped 1.4%, and Burger King, which fell 2.8%, the biggest drop in the group. Burger King was late to recognize the consumer’s value focus. "

Fast Food Customer Service Scores

Social Media: A Marketing Fail?

Today on, reporter Joe Mandese covers the new report from Knowledge Networks called "How People Use Social Media." The report claims that now with over 83% of internet users utilizing social networks, less than 5% of these individuals turn to social media for advice on specific products. The Knowledge Network's report says that people are turning to social media to connect with individuals and finding a rich experience when joining a social networking site; however, these individuals are not finding it to be a "meaningful" way to connect with brands and products.

Mandese reports, "Obviously, a lot of people are using social media, but they are not explicitly turning to it for marketing purposes, or for finding out what products to buy. It's really about connecting with friends, or connecting with other people," says Dave Tice, vice president and group account director at Knowledge Networks, and the top analyst behind the report. "What we're seeing is that word-of-mouth is still the No. 1 most influential source, followed by TV. The influence of social media isn't at the bottom of the list, but it is somewhere in the long tail of marketing - about the same as print ads, or online [display] ads."

As a social media professional, we encourage you to read Mandese's article in its entirety.

Social Media Fails To Manifest As Marketing Medium, Report Likens Twitter To TiVo: More Hype Than Reality

Has social media worked for marketing? Will it ever be a valuable vehicle for marketers to connect with their audience on a more personal level?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Using Google Insights For Niche/Market Research?

Are you using Google Insights for Market Research? Blogger Ben Johnson has a great post on how exactly Google Insights may be used for Market Research. Johnson writes, "So what is Google Insights? Basically it's a tool which allows you to compare and analyse search volume and patterns for your specified search terms over a given period of time, area of the world or a specific category."

Not only does Google Insights allow real-time data, but the clear charts really make it worthwhile for market researchers.

What other free software is available for market researchers? What tips can you share for analyzing the market for a particular product or service?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Netflix: Getting Customer Service Right

PC World recently wrote a post about how NetFlix is doing an excellent job responding to its customers and giving them great service. According to Edward Albro, he recently had problems with his streaming services on Netflix. He assumed it was issues on his end, such as his internet connection. But when he opened his email one morning recently, he had received and email discount for 2% on his current NetFlix bill. The company took responsibility for it's technology error, and let their customers know if the issue. There was no mess when dealing with the company. Do you know any other compnies who have stepped up and taken responsibility when an error was caused by their systems?

Daily Beauty adds experts to team of professional bloggers

Daily Beauty, the popular website that offers beauty information has added Beauty Bloggerati. This new group of bloggers features a team of experts who focus on make up, skin care, hair styles, hair care, green beauty, weddings, travel and mom beauty.

Jeannette McClennan, CEO, Daily Makeover commented:
“The Beauty Bloggerati will expand our beauty knowledge base, enrich the online dialogue and offer our community members the latest trends and advice from experts across the country. This isn’t simply another beauty network. We’ve hand selected 13 beauty and fashion bloggers to join after conducting an extensive search, which included their content, traffic and online ratings from various outlets. Not only will the Daily Makeover Beauty Bloggerati enhance our members online experience, but it offers a channel for these experts to extend their exposure and stand-out in the blogosphere.”

Source: Business Wire

Friday, May 15, 2009

Web Seminar: What are Words Worth? New Ways to Optimize Consumer Language

Join us for a Free Web Seminar: What are Words Worth? New Ways to Optimize Consumer Language

Thursday, June 4th from 2:00 PM - 3.00PM EST

Reserve your Web Seminar seat now at:
Mention priority code: MWS0018BLOG

Seeing words, hearing pictures, feeling sounds. You get the picture?

The exploration of consumer language is a key ingredient in understanding what makes people tick. But consumer language is as much visual as verbal. The challenge then is how to get your message home as quickly and clearly as possible. In that first moment of truth, how do you truly engage?

Through a series of original case studies featuring online techniques, we will help you understand how consumers think about one or more of the following words: luxury, indulgence, natural, and quality. What do these words mean? How are they perceived by different types of consumers? We have chosen these words because they reflect the marketing challenges of today, resonating across a wide spectrum of client industries.

As you listen in, you will get a better understanding of what these words mean, the visuals and imagery around what these words represent, and new learning for ways to engage respondents online for deeper, more personal reactions.

Attendees of this webinar will learn:
• How to go beneath the surface to uncover consumer emotions and personal connections linked to copy and language
• How to improve and refine consumer language critical in exploratory and copy development
• New techniques to identify imagery and visual feedback in copy and positioning development
• Innovative methods for mining and distilling rich consumer language

Presented by:
Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Speaker Profile: Jeff Howe

Jeff Howe will be a keynote speaker at this year's The Market Research Event. Jeff Howe is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covers the media and entertainment industry,among other subjects. In June of 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. He has continued to cover the phenomenon in his blog,, and in August 2008 Crown Business published Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. Before coming to Wired he was a senior editor at and a writer at the Village Voice. In his fifteen years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working.

Read Jeff's blog here:

Source: Bright Sight Group

Community 2.0 Across the Web

While the C2.0 team rests up from another great conference, we did want to take some time today and search the web and look for any blog posts written by attendees or speakers. As more appear or if you'd like to forward any you find, we'll be sure to share with everyone:

Live from Community 2.0: How to Be a Kick Ass Community Manager from The Engaged Consumer Blog

Tara Hunt's "Whuffie Factor" Tidbits from Community 2.0 from the Citizen Marketer 2.1 Blog

Building the business case for online communities from the FreshNetworks Blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Track Presentation: Southwest Airlines - Nuts About Online Communications

Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media from Southwest Airlines presented the second afternoon of Community 2.0. She described the history and overall success Southwest has had in utilzing social media after their participation on the A&E reality show Airline, begining with launching their blog which has grown and expanded and become an award-winning source of information and behind-the-scenes look at Southwest from employees across the organization. Here's a short clip from her presentation:

TMRE 2008 Speaker Featured in New York Magazine

Kathleen Vohs, PhD is featured in this week's cover story "Recession Culture" in New York Magazine.

From the article, It turns out there are people who study our brains on money. Kathleen Vohs, a consumer psychologist at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, is preeminent among them, and for the sake of better understanding both the past and the future of our city, it’s useful to start by looking at what she’s found. Just thinking about money made her subjects less likely to help strangers struggling with their belongings. Just handling money made her subjects less sensitive to physical pain. My favorite experiment of hers, though, was one in which she divided her subjects into groups, one of which stared at a screensaver of floating dollar bills and another at a screensaver of exotic fish. Subjects were then asked whether they’d like to work on a task alone or with a partner. Eighty percent of those who’d been staring at the dollar bills chose to work alone. Eighty percent of those who’d been staring at the fish wanted to collaborate. (One wonders if the offices of AIG couldn’t have benefited from an aquarium or two.)

For the entire article, please click here.

For more information about The Market Research Event, please visit the event's website.

Track Presentation: Building Pageviews: Knowing What Works for Your Audience

Eby Ghafarian, an Independent Social Media Marketer, kicks off our afternoon tracks sessions focused on Community Culture & Strategy. He begins by discussing the necessary steps to begin building awareness:

  • Research: ask your audience (or potential audience)
  • Narrow your scope
  • Prepare to fail
  • Stimulate the conversation
In preparation to understanding a company's community, he stresses that surveys aren't necessarily the best option, instead utilize what's available: forums, comments, and Twitter. It's essential to establish trust and keep the conversation going, it only hurts the company if you participate in these online areas and once information is captured you then leave, this is a break in trust.

Then companies should focus on relevance, just because you can do something, doesn't mean a company should. In turn, you should keep your community members' investment in the community low and simple - don't force them through long rigorous registration forms. In turn companies' can take advantage of open platforms.

But the process is difficult, companies' must be prepared to fail, because technologies and community strategies are constantly changing and new tools are launched regularly, can anyone truly say what will work for them unless they launch and let their community tell them what works and what doesn't?

Therefore communities give companies an opportunity to engage their audience, they are their in the community for a reason either brand loyalty, contextual relevance, and great content. It's important than for companies to have a hand's on approach with the communities they launch. Which means that community managers shouldn't be the only ones involved. It's critical that everyone in the company take part and share especially around their expertise, it will help create the impression that the company is not simply monolithic, but made up of actual people prepared to share and interact with the audience.


Ways to Benefit from the Power of WE

Barry Libert, CEO of Mzinga, looks at the composition of our leadership across our companies and the failure of our leaders in grasping the value of their communities behind them and their organizations. This was a very free flowing presentation. I think the best way to capture it in all honestly, are some of the great tweets coming from attendees:

DawnL: I respect Barry Libert: "Mzinga has done a lot wrong and some right". An exec who can see both and says it. #c20

templedf: @blibert: "Every business is nothing more than the sum total of their communities." #C20

podolsky: listening to an awesome speech by ceo of mzinga at #c20

aaronstrout: RT @templedf: @blibert: It's about relationships and communication. "It ain't about selling shit." #C20

templedf: @blibert: Obama is "the first social leader of all times." #C20

aaronstrout: @blibert contends that Hillary Clinton behaved more like a man than a woman during campaign (didn't respond to folks on SocNets) #c20

templedf: @blibert: It's about relationships and communication. "It ain't about selling shit." #C20

templedf: @blibert: "There never was a glass ceiling. It just wasn't women's time yet." #C20

mlees: Barry Libert, Mzinga, telling it like it is. AT&T, Chevrolet, others. Do you know what business you're *really* in? (#C20)

templedf: @blibert: The US is effectively broke, and the gov't can't bail us out. It took Japan's gov't 14 years to do it. #C20

templedf: So far, so good. @blibert makes the point that America's leadership doesn't get it because they're dinosaurs. #C20


Keynote: Traditional Corporate Communication is Dead

Connie Bensen, Chief Community Officer at Techrigy SM2 is our next keynote speaker.

Her topic of the death of traditional corporate communications focuses on the critical role of the community manager within companies to generate awareness and engagement with the customers in the community.

Connie begins by discussing the community manager as the 'MetaCustomer' an individual that builds relationships across your customers and within your company. Her focus is that your community is the untapped channel, incorporating Potential Customers, Customers, New Markets that ultimately will all lead to revenue, and the community manager is a critical agent to achieve.

As companies consider the decision to launch a community, they must determine where their customers are online, what they are saying about the company's products & brands, and at the same time do know what they need and want from these products.

Therefore, the Community Manager is an all purpose position, working on online marketing & communication, PR, customer & technical support, product development & QA, among others. Because of this she insists that 3 months is a good time frame for a community manager to build visibility, and then ultimately ROI within 6 months.

Community managers effectively acts as a translator, translating communications from the company to the customers and back to the company. Individuals in this role are people oriented, ability to work cross functionally, excellent communication skills, project management, possess leadership skills, and possess the knowledge of how to leverage web 2.0 for business collaboration.


Day 2 Keynote: Bringing Our Own Dial Tone

Our first presentation on the second day of our 2009 Community 2.0 conference, is given by Chris Brogan, Co-Founder, PodCamp, President, New Marketing Labs.

He begins by looking at the Obama presidential campaign and the realization they came to that gave them an advantage was the determination that the public is no longer anchored to their land line phones. The difficulty is finding people, they've become 'nomadic' and finding where they are connected is critical not only in terms of politics put for corporations as well.

Now the public is increasingly disconnected from traditional technology and communication channels, they deal with less and less time to review each communication; time has become a scarce commodity, so the need to engage in appropriate communication through the mechanisms the public prefers and will use is essential.

The changes that corporations are facing means it's necessary for them to move outside of the silos of traditional thinking and focus on 'rogue' thinking, in order to embrace the disruptive and the chaos that will help a company survive in this current economic crisis.

Companies need to create bridges, rather than creating communities and dialogues as islands, encapsulated within their brand hierarchy and expectations, and instead focus on true engagement with the public.

As this occurs then the focus cannot be on the tools/technologies, instead its about empowering the people where, how and when they want, rather than simply implementing new tools to the the tools around the people and their desire to have real relationships.

Of course, while many companies are increasingly interested in creating communities, its important to focus on actual goals that are continuously reviewed and analyzed to meet the changing needs of the community.

Too often, companies are quick to stifle the natural creativity and enthusiasm that erupts naturally around their brands and IP. Rather than focusing on sending the cease and desist, companies should empower their customers to take these ideas further than where the company could take them.

If you missed the conversation, here are some tweets during Chris' presentation:
  1. Lee AaseLeeAase#c20 @ChrisBrogan says most of the cost of social media/community is sweat equity. It is the law of the farm, you reap what you sow.
  2. Lee AaseLeeAase@ChrisBrogan #c20 Not everything "scales" - some things reproduce
  3. Lee AaseLeeAase#c20 @ChrisBrogan: You need to be multidisciplinary, Not one-dimensional; I agree & did a post about this idea
  4. Connie Bensencbensenfollow @ChrisBrogan live from Community 2.0 #c20
  5. Lee AaseLeeAase#c20 @chrisbrogan says PR is dead. "For Immediate Release" means "For Immediate Deletion." We don't have time to read full emails anymore
  6. Lee AaseLeeAase@chrisbrogan says the 24-hour response time for PR is dead. At most you have a few hours.
  7. Lee AaseLeeAase#c20 Listen and acknowledge. "Listening is the new black." - @chrisbrogan
  8. Lee AaseLeeAase#c20 Give your ideas handles, says @chrisbrogan. If you're going to put video on your site, give people tools to share.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Archived Web Seminar - End User Analysis: The Power of Collaboration

If you missed today's SPSS web seminar End User Analysis: The Power of Collaboration here's your chance to view it at your own leisure. Enjoy!

View the archived web seminar

Can Web 2.0 Work for Enterprise 2.0?

By Madan Sheina, Ovum analyst

In spite of its roaring success on consumer IT desktops, considerable skepticism still remains about the value of Web 2.0 in business organizations. Can Web 2.0 technologies like wikis, blogs, and social networking really help to grow a business and make the leap to Enterprise 2.0?

It used to be the case that open source was a momentary distraction for CIOs and IT directors. Not any more. More companies are asking their IT leaders to apply open source to their corporate IT strategies. The same cannot be said of Web 2.0 technologies. However, Web 2.0 is expected to creep its way into the vernacular of business software over the coming years.

The success of consumer-led Web 2.0 technologies cannot be ignored. Facebook, MySpace, blogs, RSS, mash-ups, Ajax, and a myriad of other web-based technologies all now rally under the Web 2.0 banner.

Some of these are now starting to show potential behind corporate firewalls to facilitate more effective forms of collaboration (beyond standard email) and provide a richer, more interactive information experience for business IT users, including the two-way use of the Web that allows users not only to access information but also to express their own knowledge.

Enterprise software vendors are also starting to bake 2.0 capabilities into their applications. For example, SAP uses wikis and blogs extensively on its SDN, and Oracle has built social networking into a broad-release CRM offering.

While many Web 2.0 technologies are now deployed for enterprise use, they are still a long way from being mature or universal. The trick is to figure out how to take Web 2.0 ideas and use them in a business environment to interact better with employees, customers, and suppliers. It is not a direct translation. IT users have distinct needs from consumers, and organizations will have to carefully target, evaluate, and refine their initial Web 2.0 deployments.

In particular, companies should consider Web 2.0 not in terms of technology but as an enhanced web information experience for solving business problems. For example, instead of looking at blog-style publishing, wiki-style editing, and social networking as just tools, enterprises should frame their use in business scenarios or goals, both within and outside the four walls of the enterprise as a way to better engage with their most profitable customers or build up a stronger corporate online brand.

Importantly, Web 2.0 is also about advancing information experiences for business users, helping them to make the most of the systems and data management investments that a company has already put in place. Web 2.0 helps to make IT systems user-friendly and accessible. It allows for communities of interest to be built from crowds of business users looking at certain slices of corporate information.

Finally, Web 2.0 information experience also calls for a bi-directional link between users and information. One of the biggest benefits of Web 2.0 is the opportunity to use the activities and business domain expertise within businesses as they interact with information. Rather than being passive information consumers, users participate in its creation and organization through tagging, commentary, and ranking.

Adding Web 2.0 to an enterprise context also represents a democratic and social shift for a company’s IT strategy, moving control from the organization’s IT department to individual users. But traditional views of enterprise IT are still relatively conservative. Few companies are prepared to look outside the box at unproven Web 2.0 models, especially in tight economic times.

As with any new and evolving technology, implementing Web 2.0 tools is a risk. The risk is more pronounced given the unclear return on investment from their use, which is ultimately measured in how effectively people collaborate, as opposed to business optimization or revenue-generating ideas.

Only when companies start to understand the information-democratizing benefits of these tools, the specific business case scenarios for uses of the applications, and the effort and cost of implementing them, will there be widescale adoption.

Related research

Beyond Web 2.0: what's in store

Banks using Twitter to develop relationships?

According to the MinnPost, some banks have turned to Twitter to help customer service. It points to this article at the USA Today which states that WellsFargo (Ask_WellsFargo) and Bank of America are just two of the banks jumping on the social media bandwagon to have better relationships with their customers.

Banking and social media may be a touchy subject. Although the banks are looking to develop a closer relationship with the customers, are mediums like Twitter the way to do it? What do you think?

Keynote: Identify Across Communities - Tools for Making it Real

Our next presentation is from Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman, user-centric online identity expert,, Chief Process Officer, Process Geeks, She is also co-founder, co-producer, and facilitator of

Kaliya is discussing the work from the InternetIdentityWorshop that has is focusing on the need to create standards for users to have fewer or ideally a single portable identity online. She's briefly explaining the nature of OpenID and it's use on websites. The goal is to create this single manageable account that can be used to access other sites online regardless of their primary registration form.

Next, she's looking at OAuth, a secure protocol that through their authentication process allows users to share their online content across sites. This data link is far more secure and minimizes the potential for phishing since currently many sites require passwords to be used in content importation requests to other sites.

Finally, Kaliya shares some details from the Higgins Project which has developed Information Cards and Selectors. Through a desktop application, information cards can be created or issued that allows users to select specific account detail to be utilized on a particular website. Using such mechanism, sites can create different levels of access and unique user experiences on their sites based on these cards.

Track Discussion: You Decide

Chris Brogan, Co-Founder, PodCamp, President, New Marketing Labs
Kelly Ripley Feller, Community Strategist, Intel

This unique 'un'-session was a candid conversation with Chris and Kelly and attendees while taking questions live over Twitter. This clip highlights some of the great questions and discussion that occured.

Keynote: Enabling Social Networking through and Enterprise Intranet - Lessons Learned

This final presentation of the day is by Jason Harrison, CIO of IPG Mediabrands. Mediabrands, a part of Interpublic companies, a global media communications agency with $15.8B in annual billings and has 2700 employees across 50+ markets and service such global brands as Bacardi and Johnson&Johnson.

They were faced with the need to deal with fast-changing media environments, working with a highly distributed employee-base, that has many silos of thinking and experiences. The goal then was to improve communication and collaboration utilizing Web 2.0 functionality all within their corporate intranet.

As Mediabrands considered the opportunity, they established specific goals to better collect and distribute useful knowledge across the organization, ideally transforming their corporate culture similar to how Web 2.0 was changing the public's consumption of information and expand knowledge-sharing.

The infrastructure was built on a Microsoft Sharepoint (MOSS) environment, with an architecture that reflected much of the user experience found on public social networks today. This allowed them to incorporate external syndicated content as well as internally produced content. It also allowed them to create a repository of available content through meta-tags to track a content cloud of subject matters being 'discussed' internally. This in turn provided them with an expanded reporting environment to understand all aspects of usage on the site.

The results for them based on a small upfront investment budget to build the infrastructure has resulted in enhanced collaboration and communication, with increased visibility, while leveraging key content, resulting in better client service on global accounts.

But while the results were extensive, lessons learned included that while the technology is very advanced for their expectations, such an implementation should not be 'led' by the technology, because it cannot help to 'engineer' a community. A significant issue they dealt with was that employees didn't want to maintain multiple profiles. They found that smaller markets were more likely to collaborate and take advantage where other internal resources are scarce to them. Ultimately, overall innovation is always difficult to implement internally, but the goal of changing corporate culture can be amazingly difficulty and require far more attention and time than simply launching such a powerful internal tool.


Track Presentation: Redefining Local Community

Chris Tolles, CEO, Topix who is today's conference chairperson has begun his presentation to lok at some specific misconceptions particularly in regards to media sites. As the mistake of looking at the web as not a place, then the need to focus on local and create the experience online.

But the problem is how to represent a 'local' market that relates to expectations that unfortunately is not easily one is searching the web for local.

So critical issues that Chris has faced at Topix, is the shrinking amount of already limited local content...look hyperlocal to the smallest of markets, and the volume of content is almost non-existent. The thinking that local is available in the blogosphere..unfortunately, local content is still not readily available.

But Topix has experience tremendous growth, but primarily in the smallest of local markets that often have little to no community related content. The need for information in turn results in tremendous volume of activity related to that community as residents of that town provide their own content, which in turn are expanded upon by those interested

So the question then don't certain social networks offer much of this? There are definitely examples of such use by Facebook and Twitter. However, they do not entirely cover the true 'local' experience that potentially represents $7.8B market in Ad Spend by 2011. While social media presents a great way to build this hyper-local audience, there are major issues in developing the online local community including looking at the best integration efforts and improved management.


Panel Presentation: Five Trends That Will Transform Customer Communities

This presentation by Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium Technologies, Inc who recently blogged for us about Enterprise Customer Communities: Hot Topics for 2009 has begun to discuss recent conversations his had with some of Lithium's clients. He highlights 5 trends he is seeing from:
  1. community to network
  2. fragmented to integrated
  3. intuition to measurement
  4. listening to responding
  5. practice to discipline
So in consideration of community to networking, the need is to look at the unique community elements many companies already incorporate within their own branded networks to the larger overall community, where discussions and engagements occur outside of companies' direct control. The necessity then is to reach out beyond their own community to external social networks and incorporate some of their features such as Facebook Connect. But the concern is the lose of control outside of their branded communities.

So now corporations must consider which external nodes are important to participate, but again, how? and move beyond simply listening to actually effectively responding with these external communities.

Next, from Fragmented to Integrated, customers are pulling together all available social media and integrating them across enterprise systems. The result and fear corporations have again is the loss of control over member experience, but the opportunity is to improve the customer experience and provide them the experience they expect and want. As the technology becomes leveraged across enterprise systems, the importance and necessity to integrate or even consolidate components increases, but it can create efficiencies and become easier for organizations to measure and determine ROI.

Now comes the need to move from Intuition to Measurement. Integrating web and community analytics helps you to identify the community content and users that drive business outcomes. But there are multiple focus areas to measure, it is still ctricial to measure community health such as # of pageviews and registations. Once the community reaches critical mass and is sustained, then you can measure the bottom-line ROI.

Now, Joe touches what he thinks is the bellweather trend of listening to responding. In the early era of communities, which he considers to be from 1995-2005, focused on enabling interaction so that customers can help each other. Currently, we are at a point of time where the need is to improve listening to customers within our communities, learning to hear exactly what expectations they have. But what will soon occur is that customers will move to those companies that have learned to listen effectively AND ARE RESPONDING ACTIVELY.

Finally, very simply, from practice to discipline that the role of community managers is changing drastically and the knowledge that they have is completely unique within organizations and their value is growing and will become very critical in the growing importance of social media to corporations.

Joe has posted his presentation, and here you can view it:


Track Presentation: Needs are the Seeds for B2B

Our next presentation during our afternoon's track sessions is given by Pepper E. Roukas, Director, Content & Community Development, American Express Global Advertising and Brand Management.

She's begun by posing the misconception that so many have about the importance of social media for small businesses. She pointed out about the recent column by Steve Strauss on USA Today. On April 13th, he basically came out against business use of Twitter, in effect, not worth effort. What resulted was an avalanche comments against his perspective and they next day he wrote a new column, his mea culpa, a reconsideration of the value of Twitter for business.

So here she discusses Amex' B2B Community Pillars:

1) Service & People
2) Data & Insights
3) Global Reach
4) Best Products & Partners and Services

So focusing with their internal marketing communication process, looking at
Awareness }} Consideration }} Conversation }} Loyalty & Usage

Now the use of communities expands and improves this process to create greater value and opportunity to engage their customers. Amex has determined that small business are so quickly and in increasing numbers using social media

Case Study: OPEN Forum

It's a community from Amex to provide content and community platform to help small business owners manage their businesses. It's a tool to create conversion and build loyalty and engagement. It is also not a closed community, much of the content is syndicated to appropriate external sites. Because of this they have focused on a particular content strategy:

1) Best of the Business
2) Has to be Authentic
3) Has to be Relevant
4) Has to be Timely

She then offered this example of a video clip from the INC. 500 Conference with Seth Godin

Because of these efforts Amex has seen significant outcomes including increased brand relevancy, brand loyalty, and ultimately, increased purchase considerations and card applications as a result of this effort.

Now switching gears, Pepper is offering the case study of business travelers. She presents a case study on Business Travel Connexion, an industry-wide platform for corporate travel management community, available to corporate decision makers but also includes their competitors, the first effort to do so. It offers unique Web 2.0 elements, some designed specifically with their current clients, while other functionally is widely available. In turn they also partner with Facebook and LinkedIn to promote the site and incorporate participation on these larger communities.

The results has once again included increased brand relevancy and brand loyalty; and later this year efforts will be for more in-depth measurements which they fill will demonstrate definite increase in purchase considerations.

In looking at these case studies, we now are looking at how Amex utilizes partnerships in order to co-create value in order to meet their needs for new content - best of breed and expert quality for their communities, and technology - opportunities for integration.


Panel Discussion: Don't Just Survive, Thrive. Tips and Techniques for Sustaining Your Community

Moderator: Bill Johnston, Chief Community Officer, Forum One Networks
Peggy Duvette, Executive Director, Wiser Earth
Nick Koudas, CEO & CoFounder, Sysomos
Beth Murphy, Head of Marketing & Communications, Digg

Now we're beginning our panel discussion to look at specific points and difficulties, each have come up with their specific 'lessons learned' these past 9 months during the recession so far:

From Bill, some initial points based on recent survey Forum One Networks recently captured, with the following responses:
  1. Community "more" valuable during recession - 60% of respondents
  2. Relationships matter - respondents said that support from peers and relationships with other CMs and SMEs
Now from Peggy, her lessons include:
  1. The purpose of what you do is more importan than the tool you choose
  2. Barriers of entry are very low in online media: Experiment, Measure, Adjust
Beth's lessons include:
  1. Transparency & Responsiveness as guiding principles
  2. Community extends beyond the website
  3. Brand voice & personality should infuse everything
Finally, here are Nick's lessons:
  1. Use Technology to Discover Your Community
  2. Use it to Understand Your Community, Who They Are and What They Are Saying
  3. Use it to Engage Your Community

First question, hardest decision to make in relation to your community in the past 9 months?

Peggy: A user who became heavily involved and active regularly and became disruptive to the overall community. Using guidelines they have in place, they publicly acknowledged the user and the issue created by their activity, but at the same time, they had no choice but to remove them from the community.

Beth: Recently launched the Digg Bar, and while there was overall initial positive responses, there were significant concerns expressed by publishers and users that resulted in significant changes to the initial functionality available in Digg Bar to satisfy those legitimate concerns. It was difficult to have to roll back capabilities they felt strongly about having in the Digg Bar, but the result was more positive to respond and react to the feedback.

Question: Who or what inspires to you improve and expand your community?

Peggy: To see that the community takes it upon itself to help the community survive since they are non-profit. One example, they took it upon themselves to generate a campaign to have new features developed on the community that her budget could not accommodate.

Nick: It's really about helping people, getting the call from someone who needs assistance to learn how to learn about what is happening online. In working with these companies, the result has been to learn about unique niche communities that exist that often are not regularly known about.


Keynote: Making Wuffie: Raising Social Capital to Win Online

Our next keynote this morning is by Tara Hunt, Co-Founder, The Citizen Agency, Author, "The Whuffie Factor".

So Tara Hunt begins her discussion today explaining what is Whuffie that roughly is described as social capital, reputation, access to information, and information publicly available from you. Clearly, this concept is applicable today, it is how we recognize and engage and interact with each other in online communities today.

The sheer volume of users on social networking is growing so quickly and expanding at a rate that this social capital becomes important to manage the interconnections between individuals on this site. Now companies are faced with stepping into social networks and mistakenly use these traditional efforts and ultimately fail in their goals. Here she talks about her steps to making Whuffie in order to create the necessary reputation and authenticity vital to successful participation in social networks.

So here are her pillars in of Whuffies:

1) Turn the bullhorn inwards - traditional marketing has focused on one-way communication from companies to their customers. This results in negative responses from the public, and less likelihood of engaging in these communications. So the importance is to treat customers as partners, as unique individuals and to create a two way communication. Here are her rules for better commenting:
a) Get advice and input from experts but design for the broader community
b) Respond to all feedback, even when you respond by saying , "No thanks."
c) Don't take negative personally; remember that when people give feedback, they are doing so because they care and have taken the time to improve their experience
d) Be sure to acknowledge and recognize those whose ideas you use.
e) When you implement a new idea, make sure that you highlight it, and ask for feedback.
f)Make small, continuous changes rather than waiting to implement everything at once.
g) Don't just wait for feedback to come to you, go out and find it; people are probably talking about your product elsewhere
h) No matter how many people like you, you will always have someone who doesn't - mind the haters.

2)Become part of the community you serve: getting out of the office and actively meet and engage the people you serve. The hard part is where is this community? If you start with what problem you are trying to solve, then you can answer, who is my customer, and then you can consider where they are. But rather than as a marketer or sales person, participate like a common participate, rather than simply trying to sell your products or service.

3)Build amazing customer experience: Invoke powerful, basic emotions. Some simple steps to do this:
a) Dazzle in the details
b) Go above and beyond
c) Appeal to emotion
d) Inject a little fun
e) Make something mundane fashionable
f) Let people personalize
g) Use humor to share
h) Simplify
i) Make happiness your business model: increase autonomy, competence, and relatedness
j) Be a catalyst

#4) Controlling the message? No, embrace the chaos....benefits include being better prepared for the unexpected; join in the conversation is happening and ultimately welcomed for the effort; and create and opportunity for collaboration

#5) Finding your higher purpose: While businesses are based on the market economy and pursuing profits, whuffie is based on the gift economy. More whuffie given, more whuffie received. As you give more within your community, the more you will receive. So here are 5 gifts that give back to you:
a) Doing well by doing good
b) Think customer centrically
c) Help others go further
d) Spread love: help people become better people to other people
e) Value something better than yourself

Each of these pillars of whuffie result in better word of mouth, repeat sales, improved customer service, and improved bottom line.