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creating extraordinary products for tomorrow’s customers

By on Apr 30, 2013 in Uncategorized |

I’ve long been of the view that user experience methodology is useful well beyond the design phase of a web based proposition, product or service – it can and should be part of the strategy development process which proceeds it. The techniques used by user experience designers, which range from workshops to interviews to card sorting exercises are just as useful when utilised by management consultants, process designers, pr and marketing professionals, in human resources contexts such as change management, etc etc. I’ve just come across a useful excerpt from HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: How To Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers by Jan Chipchase and Simon Steinhardt on the use of user experience methodology in a corporate context. They write: If there’s such a thing as a default framework in corporate research, it’s the customer journey map, which provides detailed information about each event in a customer’s typical day, diagrams how she moves from one event to another, and identifies all the touchpoints where she may use the product or service we’re designing. Customer journey maps tend to be very precise in their documentation and technical in their appearance–many boxes connected by many lines. They’re useful for building a basic level of understanding, and certainly no one would accuse them of being arbitrary, but reading them can sometimes feel like a mechanical process. In addition to customer journeys, which tend to start at the trigger point and end with resolution, Chipchase and Sthenhardt reveal, in the excerpt, a less widely used technique, threshold mapping: Threshold mapping allows us to map out “default” conditions–the normal state a person experiences a majority of the time (for example, most people feel clean enough throughout the day that they won’t drop whatever they’re doing and hop in the shower if it’s available)–and then understand what happens when a person crosses the line into an alternative condition. Often, the feelings that people experience as they approach or cross a threshold lead them to think and act differently....

mckinsey on the era of ‘on demand’ marketing

By on Apr 30, 2013 in Uncategorized |

McKinsey Quarterly has published an excellent article on the coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing, with their thinking perfectly aligned with the strategic work I’ve been doing with a number of forward thinking clients B2C and B2C clients over the past year or so. The article makes a compelling argument for marketing activities that are not just “always on”, but also “always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery”. Consumers, state McKinsey, are beginning to demand: interaction anywhere at anytime the ability to do “new things” that create value for them data driven targeting that personalises their experience (see my recent post on this here) simple interactions The article goes on to describe how, to get this right, brands need to: focus on assisting the consumer journey generate and make smart use of data deliver new skills and joined up processes, across business functions McKinsey concludes by stating that, “The forces enabling consumers to expect fulfillment on demand are unstoppable. Across the entire consumer decision journey, every touch is a brand experience, and those touches just keep multiplying in number.” The McKinsey article is definitely worth a read: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_coming_era_of_on-demand_marketing  ...

back to the future – I’m returning to the Dachis Group

By on Apr 24, 2013 in edelman |

In about a month’s time, I’ll be re-joining the Dachis Group London as General Manager. Three years ago, in a goodbye that anyone who was there will confirm was a tearful one, I departed the Dachis Group to join Edelman Digital. In my time in the digital PR world I’ve learned a lot, done my best to avoid adopting a whole new vocabulary and checked-in at more airports than I could ever possibly recall. Oh, and there was that incident where an octopus got loose on the table of a restaurant in Seoul… The Dachis Group, too, has continued to evolve by fine-tuning their offering, investing heavily in the development of an amazing suite of proprietary social media analysis and measurement software, and recruiting some of the industry’s best talent – all of which has helped the Dachis Group grow an enviable client base. Whilst we went our separate ways for a while, we’ve arrived in the same place today – firm in our belief that a data-driven model offers digital and social media marketers the best possible opportunity to contribute, measurably, towards meeting strategic business outcomes. I’ll be starting my new role in about one month’s time – and am greatly looking forward to working with a fantastic team within a dynamic, and growing, business. [Announcement of my appointment...

leveraging your best route to audience

By on Apr 15, 2013 in Uncategorized |

The PR industry spends a lot of time talking about targeting key influencers through social media. Influencers are the people who, because they have credibility and visibility within a particular target audience, can help get a brand’s messaging noticed and trusted. Influencers range from journalists to industry analysts to mummy bloggers – and pretty much everyone in between – depending on who the audience is. With B2C audiences, using social media analysis and a bit of intuition to draw up a list of key influencers is usually pretty straightforward. This is something that comes quite naturally to most PR professionals, in part because that’s how they make their living but also because it’s familiar – we are all consumers. When it comes to B2B, however, finding influencers can be a bit more daunting. This is especially the case where a client’s messaging requires in-depth industry knowledge, technical jargon, or a high level of expertise. Also, industry specific conversations are often low volume, or exist behind registration walls, making them difficult to find through traditional social media monitoring and analysis. So what’s the route to audience for B2B brands with a complex story to tell? Staff. Moving forward, I suspect we’ll see many more brands, particularly in the B2B space, leveraging the capability and willingness of staff to share, via their own personal and professional networks, corporate messaging with relevant audiences. A few years ago, I helped PepsiCo Europe devise and begin implementing a new social media strategy. Whilst working with them, I came across PepLine, an internal html newsletter regularly distributed to staff. Some of the content in the newsletter was company confidential, but much of it wasn’t. On those items that staff were welcome to share outside the firewall, PepsiCo added one-click share buttons, making it a seamless process for staff members who found that content interesting to share it with their own personal and professional networks. It was a simple, yet powerful, way of encouraging PepsiCo’s staff – numbering just under 300,000 employees globally – to share content with people who, because of their connection with a staff member, are likely themselves to have some personal or professional interest in that content. According to a recent survey, around 20% of LinkedIn users have between 51-100 connections. A further 20% have 101-200, and about 17% have between 201-300. Together, that’s just under 60% of linked in users falling between 51-300 connections so, averaging out across that (which cuts out those who don’t add many connections as well as super-users = so focuses on more typical usage patterns), it’s fairly safe to assume most ordinary employees will have about 175 connections. Say a piece of corporate content is distributed to 100,000 staff globally. If just 1% (so 1000) of those staff members choose to share it via LinkedIn, the potential reach is 1000 x 175 = 175,000. That number doesn’t take into account any sharing beyond the initial audience of direct connections. But this isn’t purely about potential reach. It’s about reaching the right audience. Using my own LinkedIn network as an example, the 520 contacts I’ve classified (about 40% of the total) include 251 colleagues and former colleagues, 172 partners (which includes vendors and clients), 64 friends and 33 classmates. Accounting for just the first two groups, and ignoring the 60% of my LinkedIn contacts that are unclassified (oops), I’m connected to at least 420 people who work in, or procure services from, the digital and social media industry – exactly the audience my employer should be targeting with marketing materials, industry insights, thought leadership and recruitment messaging. Leveraging the personal and professional connections of staff can be a great route to finding the right audience with corporate content, particularly in B2B situations where messaging is unlikely to be relevant to, or understood by, those outside a particular industry. It’s surprising more brands aren’t doing this. (Note: Several small grammatical amendments were made to this post on 16 April,...

don’t let your social media budget slip up up up and away

By on Apr 10, 2013 in online community |

The social media management industry has reached an important inflection point. One where it must demonstrate, with real data, its ROI to the boardroom. Back in 1999, in a document written by myself and Lizzie Jackson to justify investment in the BBC’s first audience communities, we suggested that online communities would increase loyalty, encourage return visits, and build deeper engagement with audiences. To demonstrate our progress, we created a “weekly message board health check” where we recorded the number of new user registrations, new posts, posts removed by moderators, and highlighted interesting quotes from participants. We had no targets – other than “up, up up” –  nor did we have a strategy beyond serving the needs of participants who we knew wanted spaces where they could interact with BBC brands, programme makers and each other. Sound familiar? This is the same message, nearly fifteen years later, that many agencies continue to peddle to their clients. In a recent post, Dachis Group Europe’s Lee Bryant quotes some insight from an Altimeter study of nearly 700 executives and social strategists, highlighting the disconnect between many brands’ social media strategies and business outcomes: “… we found that only 34 percent of businesses felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes and just 28 percent felt that they had a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision. A mere 12 percent were confident they had a plan that looked beyond the next year.” As Brian Solis and Charlene Li put it in the report: “The crux of the problem is that many so-called social strategies are not innately linked to business goals. They are instead often guided by a peer- or competitive-driven “social for social’s sake” philosophy. And even where clear goals do exist, social initiatives face challenges in the form of a lack of defined strategy, governance, and funding.” As I’ve written here before, where a void exists between social strategies and business outcomes, brands are destined to fail. Those clients still fixated on “up, up, up” in their numbers of fans and followers might not recognise that failure today but they’ll soon cotton on. Where, however, a brand sets off to deliver against identifiable strategic objectives, not only are they more likely to achieve a positive return on that investment, but they’ll also be able to measurably demonstrate that success. I’ve benefited both personally and professionally from the rise and increased professionalisation of the community management industry over the years: a well managed community offers an undeniably better experience for participants than an unmanaged one, and I’ve built a career around my ability to bring people and brands closer together in digital environments. That, however, isn’t going to convince senior managers or shareholders that an ongoing investment in social media is justified. If, like me, you make your living by helping brands engage with audiences online, now is the time to dig out your brand’s strategy and make an honest assessment of how your social media activities thus far have contributed measurably towards meeting strategic outcomes. If the answer is “I don’t know”, “not much”, or “not enough” it may very well be time – before your client comes to the same conclusion and jumps ship to another agency, or reigns in their social media spending, in response – to shift gears. Don’t let that client slip...