I know they aren’t for everyone, but I can genuinely say that I enjoy attending webinars. They’re convenient, quick and timely in subject matter. Most of them also allow you to participate in discussions afterward, often in a Q&A format, allowing you to connect with the speaker(s) directly. (Not to mention, most of them give you the opportunity to download the presentation after the event – ideal for those who multi-task during the webinar.) In essence, it’s a nice break from traditional whitepapers, and they (webinars) themselves make for good content marketing fodder as well.
With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to spread the word about some upcoming webinars and encourage the generation of new thoughts, ideas and discussions. Below I have listed a few that specifically address content marketing hot topics, all of which are free. Take a look at what they have to offer, and if your schedule allows, sign up for your favorite(s). If you know of any others coming up, feel free to jot them down below. After all, none of us are experts – there’s always something out there to learn.Content Marketing: The Secret to Success with B-to-B Marketing Automation
This webinar will address how to align B2B marketing strategies with the buying cycle. With marketing automation in mind, this event will also explain how to serve the needs of buyers who are often in various stages of the sales process.How to Build Traffic and Backlinks with Content Marketing
This session will tackle content development issues and address the theory that suggestions “content strategy” will generate more attention in future than “social media”. Presenters will address content marketing topics such as idea generation, implementation and promotion.Effective Content Marketing Strategies
Directed toward B2B companies, this event will strive to help attendees develop and maintain content marketing strategies that will set them apart from the competition. Speakers will offer best practices for overcoming common challenges and discuss various content marketing tricks and tools.
Every now and again, I stumble across a resource that is just too good to not
share. This is one of those times.
For every marketing executive who has scratched his/her head wondering which major social media site is best for customer communication, brand exposure, driving traffic to your web site, or SEO, CMO.com
has released a great resource. Called the "CMO's Guide to the Social Media Landscape,"
this one-pager certainly doesn't cover the entire social media landscape or all of the possibilities, but if you're still getting your arms around the possibilities for using sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Del.icio.us, it's a great quick reference that you can print out.
I've included the Guide below, but you can also download the full PDF here
(Image credit: CMO.com
Im a big fan of the BrightTalk Webinar series
, and yesterday I listened to a Webinar on Enterprise Marketing with Communities and Social Media
, featuring Salim Ali
, VP of Enterprise Solutions and Community Marketing at SAP.
He effectively illustrated how a B2B technology company like SAP is using social media in their marketing efforts by focusing on two significant assets SAP Communities
and SAP EcoHub
, an app store for the enterprise software industry.
SAP didnt just launch one community, they launched six discrete groups and an app store serving both technical and business professionals. SAP has been widely praised for their approach with accolades from BusinessWeek and Forrester. Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group
says, SAP ranks in the top ten of the worlds most valuable brands based on how they leverage social media to interact with customers. These accolades seem justified. With more than two million community members and six thousand posts per day, clearly SAP is on to something.
SAP has a systematic process for leveraging this vast community for product feedback, demand creation, product launches, customer references and evangelism. One of many examples that he shared was a customer reference program where community members (from SAP communities and other social networks) were encouraged to showcase your innovative SAP interactive form and qualify to win a book ($60 value). This program alone generated 24 quality customer references that were then leveraged online as part of a demand generation program.
Its refreshing to see a B2B company with such exciting social media and community engagement programs underway. Take a look and see what you think.
-- Katie Hanusik
The Cision report said that online resources (like Wikipedia) are heavily used when researching stories but arent deemed all that trustworthy by reporters. This could be partially because most cant be cited under the traditional rules of journalism and are not held to any code of ethics since they are written by the general public. Crowdsourcing then seems to be a natural progression, it allows journalists to say we got this information from Twitter then lets the public decide how they will digest it trust it, do more research, or take it as opinion.
Randi uses CNN as an example saying they report the news totally differently today than four years ago since now reporters can include the publics viewpoint in their stories from sources such as Twitter and their own user generated content platform iReport.com but she says there is a long way to go in using crowdsourcing technology in a most effective manner.
As outlets become more open cowdsourcing is used more often, however it looks like there is a delicate balance consumers of media are interested in the public opinion but if taken too far will disregard the news because of a lack of facts. Or as Jason warns, in the SXSW video, become stagnant on open forums without direction and moderation. Not only are we seeing traditional news outlets use Twitter (and email) to gain and gage public opinion asking for comments on hot topics and reading them on air but its now breaking news! Think back to some of the most recent big news stories
where did you hear about them first? I know I heard about the plane crash on the Hudson and Michael Jacksons death on twitter first then turned to the news channels to confirm it. And I know I saw the Fort Hood shootings as breaking news from Twitter on news casts and online before any official confirmation had been given and apparently the same thing happened with the recent bombings in Jakarta. I find this trend of news being broken first via social outlets then crowdsourced for reporting purposes before having been traditionally confirmed very interesting (Ill likely explore it deeper in a later post). With its massive reach, Im interested to watch how Twitter changes news as we know it will it be a trusted source? Does it cheapen the journalistic process? How will it change how we get news content? Possibly, its as Clay Shirky said, Media is increasingly less a source of information, increasingly more a site of coordination. I guess well continue to see the answer to these and many more questions unfold in short order.
|Phil Horvitz, Apptis and Tim Silk, Cisco|
Last Thursday, WITs Technology SIG held their third event in the Tech Talk series, this one on the topic of Cloud Computing. The speakers were Phil Horvitz, CTO of Apptis and Tim Silk, Engineering Sales Manager at Cisco Systems.
Both speakers were gracious enough to share their presentations here, but a few highlights are worth noting.
Tim Silk started the discussion by offering NISTs definition of cloud computing; Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
He also explained how cloud computing is deployed and discussed the difference between public, private and hybrid clouds. Check out Tims full presentation here:
Phil Horvitz explained how government is leading the adoption of cloud computing and has mandated that every agency conduct a cloud pilot in 2010. According to Phil, The last time this happened? Never.
Two other interesting data points in Phils presentation:
- According to Gartners 2009 Technology Hype Cycle, cloud is at the absolute peak of inflated expectations (a position shared with e-book readers). This means, to use Gartners descriptive terminology, that cloud still has to go through the trough of disillusionment and the slope of enlightenment before it reaches the plateau of productivity (see page 4 of the PPT).
- The ROI of cloud computing becomes apparent on page 5. Eli Lilly documented the server provisioning times for traditional IT compared to cloud. The differences are impressive.
Phil finished up by sharing a success story of his own. Apptis has a financial report that took 15 hours to run. By moving this application to the cloud, Phils team was able to produce the same report in under an hour. This is a great example of what Phil calls "cloud bursting," a temporary need for additional computing power that is efficiently managed by cloud computing.
Phil's full presentation can be found below.
Let me know what you think about the speakers' presentations -- and hope to see you at the next Tech Talk.
- Katie Hanusik
This one's been making its way around tech marketing and PR/AR circles the past few weeks, but it's too well done to not share here....
Analyst relations expert and Technobabble 2.0
blogger Jonny Bentwood
created this parody
, and after a quick scroll through the comments
on this video, you'll see that he's struck a cord with tech marketers, analyst relations experts, PR pros and industry analysts alike. As ZDNet's Michael Krigsman said
on his IT Project Failures
blog, Jonny's parody "brilliantly captures, and simultaneously mocks, the power and influence of industry analysts and their effect on enterprise vendors."Gartner's Magic Quadrants
are highly visible and infamous in IT, and Krigsman is correct - enterprise vendors do take them quite seriously. Heck, one vendor - ZL Technologies
- has even sued Gartner over the Magic Quadrant
Between laughs, there are a number of good lessons in this video for every tech marketing professional. From international analyst outreach and eliminating surprises to investigating alternatives, Jonny followed-up his original post with some solid 'lessons learned.'
So what do you think? Did the video make you laugh? Strike a chord?
As an aside, Jonny writes one of my favorite blogs on analyst relations. If you're not already reading his stuff
, I highly recommend checking it out...-Stephanie
As we spring our clocks forward, I look to the future. When I woke up this morning with the sun still not in sight, rather than bemoan the dark early hours, I think about how positive things have been for our clients lately, and reflect on how a new time is upon us.
Perhaps its the New Normal
, a term coined and recoined every time the market corrects itself or we find ourselves in a new phase of reality. Call it an awakening, or liken it to Spring. All of which I believe we are experiencing at this moment. I find myself thinking about how 2010 has started out for many to be just what we hoped, a period of resettling and moving onward and upward as we inherently wish to do.
I'm not one to pontificate, but I have found myself in several conversations in the past few weeks with clients and business partners reflecting on the start of the year and what we have seen. They ask with cautious optimism if our other clients are experiencing the same things? Are businesses investing again? Could we be out of the woods? Are other clients really hiring too? No one wants to have their head in the clouds, but they don't want to miss a growth opportunity as it awaits. There is comfort in knowing what other B2B tech companies see.
The last couple of years have taken their toll on our clients, our vendors, our employees and our families. Our anectdotal conversations could go something like this: "Small businesses still don't have access to the credit they need, the unemployment rate is still higher than anyone likes, and clients all want us to slash our fees."
But what I find most encouraging, is that CEOs in our technology community are quick to say: "We're hiring again!" Or, "This region has been good to us with some of the best talent in the industry." Or, "We just had our second best quarter in a row!" We're not quoting statistics or trends, but what we are experiencing in the field, where it really happens.
In just the past months, some of our clients and friends have exited successfully, and some have made strategic acquisitions. A few are raising money...yes, in this market. All
are experiencing growth in various forms.
So, I'm here to be a dose of optimism. Things may not be the same for a while, but there is a general fervor and excitement that comes with getting back to business, and the "New Normal" that we embrace with pride.--- Elizabeth Shea
Hypothetical question if you left your cell phone at home, would you turn around to go get it? Chances are, you would. Like our wallet or purse, we feel lost without our mobile device and can barely entertain the scenario of living a day without it. Not just for making phone calls, checking email or looking at agendas, but for reading the latest happenings via our favorite social networking sites. Or maybe thats just me.
But according to a survey conducted by ComScore
, it appears that Im not the only one who turns to a cellular device to check up on virtual friends and colleagues. The survey found that the number of cell phone users connecting to Facebook via a mobile browser has grown 112 percent compared to a year ago and Twitter has seen a 347 percent increase.
What does that mean for you and your business? Make your blog and website mobile-friendly! If youre going to Tweet and post Facebook messages to fans and followers, dont direct them to sites or documents that cant conveniently be read on a small screen. Chances are highly unlikely that your audience will revisit your link on a desktop some time later, thus losing their interest indefinitely. In other words, make the most of their attention span while you have it and give them what they want in the format that makes the most sense to them.
There are a ton of great tips and resources
out there to help you get started with you mobile site, so check them out and see what works for you.
- Mary Evans
In case you missed it, Barracuda Networks Barracuda Labs
issued an interesting set of data points on Tuesday with a particular focus on Twitter. While the report did show that Twitter is growing in terms of active users, only 10 percent of Twitter users are, as Barracuda Labs calls them, True Twitter Users.
What lofty goals do you need to reach to become a True Twitter User? According to Barracuda, the requirements are:
- 10 followers
- Follow 10 people
- Tweet at least 10 times.
Thats all you need to do to become a True Twitter User, yet only 21 percent of accounts on Twitter meet this criteria. All Things D
points out that this shows that Twitter is still mainly a service for watchers, not talkers.
What I think this shows is that Twitter as a platform is practically begging for meaningful content and actual opinions if you have something to say, Twitter remains a great platform on which to say it. Listening and retweeting (in moderation) are fine, but actually participating and contributing your (pertinent) thoughts to the discussion are even better.
As a follow-up to my earlier post
about the TMA
webinar with Charlene Li, I wanted to highlight a couple of her recommendations that really resonated with me.
1. Start Small
. Many people I speak to are overwhelmed by all that they can (and feel should) do with Social Media. Li advises clients in much the same way we do start small and tie it to a business goal. The easiest way to step in is by listening, see what others are saying about you or your market and start joining the conversation. Regularly watching and commenting on blogs will give you a sense of the time required to start your own. Plus you start to build relationships with communities that someone else has already built. When it comes time to launch your own blog or Facebook page, youll have some credibility and a built-in audience.
When considering how to approach social media, look at your annual goals. Be it a new sales goal, improving customer service, or recruiting top talent pick one area and focus on that.
2. Think beyond your customers
. Ive heard many people say but our customers are not on Facebook/Linkedin/Twittter. Even if that were true, look at who influences your customers buying decisions? Are they getting their information from social sites?
3. Defining ROI
. Look beyond number of followers or fans. Coca-Cola has 4 million fans on Facebook, a pretty impressive number, but when you think about the market for Coke, they should have close to 200 million fans. Does that mean their Facebook page is a failure? No. They just need to consider the influence as well as the quantity of their fans. How can they give those 4 million fans the information and experience they are looking for so they will go out and evangelize the brand. She presented an equation for determining value (stay with me here, I know we communicators shy away from heavy math
Value of purchase cost of acquisition + value of new customers from referrals + value of insights + value of support + value of ideas = customer lifetime value.
This complicated equation reminds us that our customers arent just valuable because they purchase our products but also because they influence their friends, provide customer service, and share insights and ideas with the brands they love (or dont). Brands can tap into all this collective wisdom by listening, sharing and engaging with customers using the many social media tools that are available.
These were just the top three thoughts I took away from the session. Anyone else that listened in have thoughts to add?
- Piper Conrad
I just came across a study that was published earlier this year by George Washington University and Cision on journalists use of online and social media in 2009 (PDF). It not only asked about the extent that they used it but also their attitudes towards it. With my last post featuring some highly regarded journalists and publishers take on what will happen to print media in the future, I thought these results might be interesting to see
According to the survey, blogs (64%) are the most frequently used social media tool to publish, promote and distribute what journalists write, followed closely by Social Networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook (60%) and Microblogging sites such as Twitter (57%). When it comes to using social media or online sources for research, most journalists 56% said social media is important or somewhat important for reporting and producing the stories they wrote. Of the journalists surveyed, 89% use blogs for online story research, 65% use social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% use microblogging services such as Twitter. Also, every participant uses Google as a research tool and 61% of journalists use Wikipedia. Even though it seems journalists are doing a lot of online research, they are skeptical of what they read. Most journalists responded (84%) that they feel news and information delivered via social media was slightly less or much less reliable than news delivered via traditional media citing lack of fact-checking, verification or reporting standards as the number one reason for this perception. ** Not to toot our own horns, but even with all of the social and online media research they do, the survey reports that journalists still turn to PR professionals for help with their primary research. Among the benefits they cited:
came out with its annual ranking of top M&A deals
this week. Despite the downturned economy, the publication reported there were 77 deals in the government contracting community in 2009, down just 11 from 2008. While the number of deals was not fully reflective of the economy, the type of M&A activity highlighted is indicative of the times.
Deloittes acquisition of Bearing Points government business, named best mid-market deal, was the most direct reflection on the economy. Northrop Gummans sale of its TASC unit to private equity firms General Atlantic and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was named best overall deal. Northorp was forced to sell TASC due to organizational conflicts of interest. Deals like this may grow in the coming years as the administration is taking a strong look at large integrators and conflicts within their numerous operating units. The feature also points out this deal marked the entrance of General Atlantic and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts onto the Washington equity scene, a sign of more deals to come?
Read the full coverage here
and let us know what you think about their picks.
This week the SpeakerBox team huddled up in our lounge and sat in on a webinar given by Charlene Li, author of Groundswell
and the forthcoming Open Leadership
. She started the session by stating that social media is no longer the bright shiny object and that companies need to get serious about how to use the technology to create relationships. As she said, Social Media is not about technology, its about relationships.
In defining strategy, organizations should plan against the following tenants -- Learn, Dialog, Support, and Innovate.
In learning mode, companies monitor what is being said about them online and use that information to make change. Evaluating what information is credible or worth listening to is always a challenge. She suggested that once you do a google search on blog mentions, then look up those posts on del.icio.us
to see how many people have bookmarked it, how theyve tagged it, and what they are saying about it. This gives a sense of how many people are paying attention to the blogger which informs how seriously you should take it. The tagging shows how people categorize the information being written about which can inform your search marketing.
In a dialog, she presented the engagement pyramid which from bottom to top includes watching, sharing, commenting, producing, curating. She said that most organizations want to focus their efforts directly on creating the curators --people who organize and disseminate your information for you. Her advice was to start at the bottom, doing those elements well will naturally build an influential group of curators.
Many companies are using social media, specifically Twitter, as a new vein of customer support. Li advised that you do not need to change your support model to use social media. The Wells Fargo Customer Support Twitter handle states up front that they keep bankers hours and will respond within those defined times.
Organizations that are truly reaping the benefits of social media are those that are able to use it for Innovation. Procter and Gamble solicits comments on products as seemingly mundane as soap and receives incredibly thoughtful and innovative ideas on how to improve the product.
Stay tuned for another post on her recommendations for getting started and making the most out of a social media strategy.
Thank you to the Technology Marketing Alliance
for hosting the event!
| |Bill Carter, myself and Robb Ryerse manning the Budgetext booth Last week I attended the National Association of Independent Schools Expo with our client Budgetext, who was there promoting its product Studysource, an online bookstore that allows schools and parents greater flexibility when purchasing textbooks. The conferences theme was, unleashing your superpowers within and along with helping teachers and administrators find their super powers during the sessions the expo presented a lot of super companies.
Among the rows of exhibitors I searched out companies that use technology to promote education and, along with Budgetext, I found some interesting companies that were attracting quite a bit of attention.
myself and the BrainHoney team BrainHoney combines classroom instruction with online learning to create a hybrid environment. They provide an inexpensive way to supplement classroom instruction with online content, offer online courses or a complete virtual school. The platform creates a curriculum map that aligns to state standards. Teachers then add activities that map to the standards to complete the map. As assignments are completed and grades are entered, BrainHoney automatically tracks students mastery of the state standards, giving teachers an idea of how kids will do on SOLs before they are given.
Schoology is a course management system for K-12 and higher ed built on a social networking platform designed to help educators, students and parents interact outside the classroom and to incorporate social learning into traditional learning. For teachers, Schoology offers an online place to create assignments, post assignments, collect assignments, converse with students, track attendance, and maintain a gradebook. Students are able to see all upcoming school related events on Schoology, and receive email or text messages to remind them of approaching deadlines as well as chat with each other, share notes and collaborate on group projects. And, parents can view their childrens homework schedules, interact privately with teachers and keep tabs on what student workload will look like week to week.
|James Conway at the BrainPOP booth James is an elementary school teacher who uses BrainPOP in the classroom to engage his students.|BrainPOP creates online supplemental learning videos to be used either in the classroom or at home to reinforce curriculum. Using animated characters, short films and interactive quizzes, BrainPOP engages students to learn in a way they find enjoyable, to ask questions and to form their own ideas. Supporting educators and students, BrainPOP works with Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, Health, Reading and Writing lessons.
I had the pleasure of being a part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) at George Mason University on February 19th. The day started with a keynote from David Andrukonis, Co-Founder of Alumni Fidelity, who has harnessed the best practices of political fundraising and translated them into a social fundraising tool for educational institutions. The counsel from David that resonated with me, was one of his big lessons learned: investing in solid Website design is critical.
|Left to right: Prof. Jim Wolfe, |
and Prof. Mahesh Joshi
David's Web discussion was a good segue into the marketing panel discussion. Jim Wolfe, Entrepreneur in Residence and Assistant Professor of Management at GMU's School of Management, moderated the discussion and I was joined on the panel by Kim Guarino of Evolve Marketing, Bob Gaudian of MediaForce PR and Lisa Martin of LeapFrog.
We had a lively, interactive session with the Mason students and used our hour to discuss and debate the merits of various marketing strategies and tactical options for any business trying to get off the ground. The discussion touched on a range of topics from building an online presence, to SEO and how to focus marketing efforts to see the most ROI. Overall it was a great discussion and further affirmation that the various practices under the marketing umbrella have really fused over the past few years. A big thank you to Jim Wolfe for including me in what was, start to finish, a very impressive event.
|Left to right: Prof. Jim Wolfe, |
Kim Guarino, Bob Guadian,
Lisa Throckmorton and Lisa Martin
Photo credit (both photos): Evan Cantwell
- Lisa Throckmorton