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Cebit Interview – Über die Zukunft der Arbeitswelt

Die Arbeitswelt verändert sich. Die Menschheit fägt sich, ob Social Software, Social Media, Social Networking oder Web 2.0 harte Arbeit ist, oder die Produktivität der Businesswelt an den Abgrund treibt. Geht es nur um die Erhöhung des persönliche Reputationsindex, des Personal Scoring Index, oder ergibt sich nachhaltige Lead Generierung -erst kürzlich als Salestainability umschrieben- und neues Business einfach selbstständig aus Gesprächen?

Wenn man zum Interview auf der Cebit von IBM eingeladen wird, kann man in ein paar Minuten nicht alles sagen, was man gerne sagen würde. Man kann auch keine 3-Säulen-Strategie im Detail erläutern, die man in der Zukunft als essentiell für den erfolgreichen Einsatz des Social Web für die Webstrategie eines Unternehmens ansieht.

Ich wollte im Interview so verständlich wie nur möglich auf die wichtigen Trends und erfolgversprechenden Taktiken eingehen, die sich abzeichnen und teilweise heute schon gelebt werden in der Businesswelt. Hoffen wir, mir ist es gelungen…

Die Idee der Visualisierung meiner Gedanken von Anna Lena Schiller während des Interviews finde ich sehr gelungen. Sie greifen den Gedanken des Personal Web Managers auf (links oben), sowie die zukünftige zentrale Herausforderung für den Einzelnen, einen 24 Stunden Tag so effizient mittels Social Software zu nutzen wie einen 36 Stunden Tag.

Der IBM Social Business Channel gibt im übrigen noch weitere Einsichten diverser Vordenker im Social Web. Ich empfehle sich auch die Meinungen mal anzuhören bzw. anzusehen.

Nun interessiert mich eure Sichtweise der Zukunft der Arbeitswelt. Wie stellt ihr euch den Arbeitstag von morgen vor? Was fehlt euch heute, was wünscht ihr euch morgen? Bin gespannt, auf eure Gedanken…

Social Media oder die Qual der Wahl

Wir haben gestern einen Ausflug gemacht. An den Tegernsee, denn wir lieben die Bergregion um München. Schöne Berge, traumhafte Natur und auf den Almen immer nette Menschen und leckeres Essen. Aber eine Sache macht uns immer wieder zu schaffen. Die Qual der Wahl… Die Qual der Wahl, welche Hütte wir diese Wochenende “bewandern”. Welchen Weg wir nehmen sollen. Oder, welches Essen uns wohl am meisten ansprechen wird, wenn wir oben auf dem Berg angekommen sind. Und selbst wenn wir es wissen, lesen wir die Karte und sehen immernoch vor der Entscheidung … oder haben weiterhin die Qual der Wahl.

Eine große Auswahl zu haben, ist eine schöne Sache. Man könnte sagen, ein Luxusproblem… Aber wie auch schon Miriam Meckel in ihrem Buch Das Glück der Unerreichbarkeit klar macht, ist die Qual der Wahl eine unserer größten Herausforderungen der Zukunft. Viele Sachen stimulieren uns, viele Sinne rühren uns, viel Auswahl verwirrt uns. Ohne Filter wird alles zu einem einzigen Chaos.

Wir lieben es Karten zu lesen, die eine große Auswahl bieten und soind enttäuscht, wenn die Karte nur klassische Breotzeit offeriert. Es sei denn auf der Hütte, wo die Brotzeit zu einem kulinarischen Highlight avenziert. Und wie es immer so ist, scheint der Hunger und die Begeisterung größer als das Bedürfnis. Die Qual der Wahl wächst…

Warum erzähle ich das alles?

Manchmal möchte ich nicht in der Haut von den Leuten stecken, die ich so berate oder beraten habe in den letzten Wochen und Monaten. Social Media Marketing scheint einen ähnlichen Effekt auf Marketing-, PR-, HR- und Customer Service Manager zu haben.

Die Qual der Wahl stapelt sich für sie in Form von zahlreichen Fragen…

– Nutze ich Social Media überhaupt? Eine Wahl, die eigentlich keine mehr sein sollte…
– Bleibe ich besser bei meinen Leisten und erklimme nicht die Höhen und Tiefen der modernen Medien?
– Welche Kommunikationmedien nutzt meine Zielgruppe (am liebsten und in 5 Jahren noch)?
– Welche Plattform schmeckt mir (Benutzerfreundlichekeit, Usability, Technik) am besten?
– Welche Plattform oder welche sozialen Medien ist/sind für mich zielführend?
– Kann ich eine Strategie, die meisten meinen eher eine taktisches Vorgehen, eines Mitbewerbes adaptieren?
– Geht die Geschäftsführung d’accord mit einer unstrategisch wirkenden Trial-and-Error Phase?
– Welche Tools, Taktiken und Trends nutze ich um meine Botschaften anzubringen?
– Wie und womit hört man eigentlich am besten in die Zielgruppe rein?
– Wie kommunizire ich und mache die Marke menschlich?
– Mit welchen Techniken oder Apps erhöhe ich meinen ROI-Output?

Die Qual der Wahl ist wie ein unbewanderter gebirgiger Waldweg. Man muß sich ab des Weges der Konformität wandern und testen, wenn man dann doch mal mit Ruhe einen klaren und zielführenden Gedanken fassen will.

Ein paar grundsätzliche Fragen, die man sich machen sollte…

– Wer ist meine Zielgruppe und wie ist sie im Social Web heute und morgen unterwegs (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z)?
– Wann soll mein Auswahl Erfolg zeigen? Deklinieren Sie vom kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner der Unternehmensziele (Markenbildung, Engagement, Leads, Umsatzzahlen…
– Was schränkt mein Vorgehen (One-Voice Policy, Kunden Status Updates, Kommentare oder Posts) mit den sozialen Medien aufgrund business-strategischer Vorgaben ein?
– Warum scheinen soziale Medien für meine Zielgruppe am aussichtsreichsten? Eine gute Analyse der Erfolgssäulen gehört vorangeschaltet, um Kosten, Personalaufwand und sonstige Resourcen abschätzen zu können…
– Wie setze ich die sozialen Kommunikationskanäle Blog, Twitter, Faceboook, Youtube oder XING/LinkedIn zukunftsträchtig als Informationsmedien auf, wer testet und wer optimiert? Wie kann hieraus ein steter Prozess entstehen?

Vielleicht bietet der Post eine Leilinie zur Entscheidungshilfe. Falls nicht, sagen Sie mir, wie sie mit der Qual der Wahl umgehen oder umgegangen sind. Die Diskussion ist eröffnet…

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Is business becoming web-business? At least you have to plan holistically to make your company departments understand why it will become social, thinks Jeremiah Owyang. And I completely do agree with these thoughts…

With the rise of social media the world is thinking about the future of advertising. And some companies are right in the middle of starting the new era – the knowledge blog @ Wharton (University of Pennsylvania) tells us more about The Future of Advertising Project.

Ford has recently published their social media strategy, … and obviously one of their tactics (not mentioned in the presentation) is to get viral buzz with their TV spots. OK, here you have it…

Ford – King Kong from Julien Vanhoenacker on Vimeo.

Contest: Let's create a new logo for The Strategy Web

After one year with my old and self-created amateurish logo (via Logoease), I have made two decision in one go. First of all, I definitely want a new logo and secondly, I like to see how a logo contest website is performing and what kind of ideas it’s ‘creative head community’ is coming up with.

A challenge for the designers or for me?
So on Thursday night last week, I started my contest and decided to go with elogocontest.com. And if you want to take part and hand in your ideas as a designer, please feel free to log on to my contest ID for the new The Strategy Web logo PS: This platform is called Hatchwise now). The challenge is on you. And some people have already been very creative and shown their innovative approaches.

For people or companies that are looking to start a logo contest the steps are easy. This was my challenge some days ago.

How does elogocontest work for contest holders?
You start by registering an account as a contest holder. Having done that, you kick off your logo contest by describing the basic outlines of the contest, your target group, the essential parts and texts of the logo and finally, by writing a short summary about the contest. This is the online brief for the designers which is a self-explaining questionnaire and easy to handle. And you think about how much money you want to hand over to the winner.
Done!

What is the benefit for designers?
The benefit for designers is not huge you might say… I do disagree with that. It depends how you see it. OK, 150,- US Dollars won’t make a designer rich, yes. However, it might have some serious impact for their future business. Generating first-class reference for your creativity and your business is not easy. By taking part in some of these competitions, designers can proof their creative power, train their creative heads in an open-competition, receive some references, and generate future business from contest holders (word-of-mouth is key in the business of the future!!!).

And if they are clever, they have a blog and a twitter account where they are talking about their contest success. If this does not help, then word-of-mouth tactics don’t work…

Any special thanks for the winner of my logo contest?
Yes, there is! My contest ends Saturday night… The winner will get an exclusive interview on his/her business, his/her thoughts on logo contests, and why the company started using elogocontest (or others as well).

So if you are a designer or a creative master mind, keep the speed up of new ideas coming in! Looking forward to your ideas. And I promise, feedback will be provided asap.

Spot On!
Logo creation has cost start-ups (and all other companies) a fortune some years ago. Today, it has found an innovative contest approach all over the web. Examples like 99designs, elogocontest, logo contest, Logoease, jovoto, mypitch, AAA Logo and mypitch proof that today the world of innovative and creative agency work is changing towards a more customer friendly web 2.0 approach. And it is becoming affordable…

For now, my work is done and I am sitting hear and am waiting for your ideas… And for those of you who want to help me choosing the right logo, comments on creatives in my blog are very much appreciated.

Dell: social media business or the just good marketers?

Dell is the social media super-hero these days and one of the most named examples of social media intelligence. At least, if we believe in a lot of blog posts…

Last week, Dell reported in a blog post that their Twitter account @DellOutlet earned more than $2 million US dollars in revenue. Money that can be attributed directly to their Twitter activity. This does not surprise us, having heard that Dell broke the $1 million US dollar barrier some months ago.

Nevertheless, let’s think a minute about the ‘social aspect’ of this Twitter account. The funny thing about it is that Dell is just using old marketing techniques to generate revenue via Twitter.

Or is the use of coupon codes a marketing innovation of the web 2.0 era?

These couopons come flying into my mailbox at home every day – quicker than I have time to throw them in a bin.

“Dell Outlet sells refurbished Dell products at great prices, but inventories fluctuate, making it difficult to know when products are available or on sale. Dell Outlet uses Twitter as a way to message out coupons, clearance events and new arrival information to those looking for Dell technology at a discounted price.” (quote from Dell blog)

Reading this statement, the question is what is the social media strategy? Isn’t this just good old marketing tactics? This Dell Twitter account @DellOutlet is not acting in any way like social media has been teaching companies lately.

“Listen, learn and engage” (Brian Solis) is the value proposition of social media. The customers are coming to you as they have heard about the quality and value of your product, service or business. Then, they buy and do some good word-of-mouth activity via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, rating sites etc. for your business. This is resulting in community building – not a sales channel like the Dell example.

Dell is talking, pushing and selling. It is the good old communication and marketing practice we all know from some years ago.

Why is Dell so successful? It is a matter of simple marketing technics. It follows the old sales intelligence… From more than 650.000 followers, 10% will be real followers (as you just follow when you are in the evaluation process mode before a purchase decision) = 60.500 followers. And if you are lucky company 5% will buy your product in the end = 3.025 users. This tells us about an interesting average revenue of 661,15 US dollar per Twitter client.

Ah, I love sales statistics… though admittedly, these might be taken from the easiest perspective of ROI measurement.

Spot On!
But is this Dell activity really ‘social’? It is the email marketing system – tables turned upside down. Opt-In or follower? Subscribe or unsubscribe is the question… Email promotion or social media promotion? Email spam or social media spam? What comes next in the marketers arena? And, the account is just following Dell accounts… is the client/follower really interesting for them?

Not saying this is not a very clever approach reaching out for clients… well-done, Dell.

Your views much appreciated…

Ad Effectiveness – Mixing Apples & Eggs?

Sometimes you read a study and think: “Ah, this is interesting information”. So, you write about it in a News Update.

And then, you stumble upon it again, and think twice about the research. This happened to me with the ‘Ad Effectiveness study’ conducted by Forbes. And browsing through it again, my feeling was that the title of this eMarketer article reflected the result, but the study itself mixes apples and eggs in some way…

Still, the main statement of the study remains an important trend in online marketing, and is an even more important praise for the work of online publishers (yes, probably a bit self-referential for Forbes).

“Respondents were by far the least happy with ad networks, with half saying that the results did not meet expectations” (…) “Ad network spending is all about demand fulfillment while direct-to-publisher display is much aligned with the traditional advertising goals of demand creation,” said Forbes.com president and CEO Jim Spanfeller.

However, it has to be said that ‘ad networks’ is not a tactic for generating conversion. It is a supplier that offers ‘cheap space’ by bundling platforms into offers in most cases. Platform owners have a much deeper understanding of their target group and can definitely do a better consulting in terms of converting their target group into potentials for their clients. Absolutely, I agree with that statement, having done this for years…

BUT: Taking my view on the study, the set up of the study is in some way irritating. When the marketing executives were asked on budget allocations the results were these…

…and what they see as most effective tactics for generating conversion? Site or page sponsorship and SEO were considered the most effective ways online.

Thinking about the answering options (and bearing in mind my brand theme ‘tools, tactics, trends’) that were given to the responding marketers though, these options need to be separated from each other…

The question, I was asking myself is… Is viral marketing really an ad tactic? In my eyes it is not. It is a strategic communication tactic which integrates viral ads as some relevant online marketing tool.

So, this study set up seems to be a comparison of apple and eggs. Viral marketing is done in social networks. It is the way in which brand awareness other marketing objectives can be increased. Viral ads is the tool that may be spread like a computer virus by the users. It cannot be influenced like banner or text ads. Nor can it be bought. So, it is a modern marketing trend with little historical definition or proven success.

And, maybe such a study should think about: What can be bought by marketers, and what cannot in our times of social media.

Spot on!
The following summary is meant to make clear what steps have to be done first by marketers to create the conversation results their bosses appreciate… and it is a guideline for the chronology of setting up an online marketing strategy.

1.) Tactics
At first, marketers have to think about the tactics they can choose from…
SEO, e-mail and e-newsletter, site and page sponsorship, corporate web TV or viral marketing.

2.) Tools
Then, they have to decide on the tools that can be used to make these tactics efficient…
good texts (I am missing this most interesting option), banners, or viral ads.

3.) Trends
And finally, we have options that might create powerful conversion…
The use of ad networks, behavioral targeting and pay per ‘x’ models (x=impression, unique user, sales, click etc.)

If the online industry continues to publish studies that mix apples and eggs, it is no wonder that 57% of respondents said they still spend less than 25% of their marketing budgets online.

It is still early days in online marketing, it seems…

How to write text ads that generate leads

In school we have learned how to write a summary in 5 sentences max. Isn’t this exactly what we need to create (newsletter) text ads that are meant to generate leads? Let’s see…

The last nine years working with customers on silicon.de, we have seen hundreds of bookings for text ads in our newsletters. In most of the cases these were meant to generate leads as we say. Now sure, leads is a powerful and impactful term ensuring the future of business, sales opportunities and save the job of responsible decision makers in marketing or sales departments.

Lead generation can be seen as collecting addresses (contact generation), profiling customer needs for products and services (interest generation), or using the direct offer for real sales or bargains (lead generation). For this post we make no distinction on the three different categories and just want to focus on the 5 sentences formula.

Headline
The number one…
The one-sentence headline is the door-opener, the eye-catcher, the first impression on your customer and your access to lead opportunities – and revenue in the end. If you fail there, the rest of your text ad will be deleted immediately in front of your customers eyes. An effect we call the ‘Skip this ad’ view…

As customers -hopefully- spend some time reading your headline (remember that this is a gift customers hand over to your business…), you should give them some kind of benefit in return from the start. So my advice is, find successful openings to create a basis for your lead generation idea from the start.

The offer. This must be written in clear words and addressing the customers needs, desires … or purse.
Examples: Get your free paper… Use 25% offer… Profit from money back…
The rhetorical question. All things that appear to be clear to customers but raise attention and/or curiosity. In Twitter days, we realized that people with rhetorical text messages generate big interest. My most-read post ended ‘… future of the business, or business of the future’. Using oxymoron is just fabulous…
Example: Don’t you want to win the lottery? Don’t you think firewalls are necessary? Don’t you think washing hands saves your health?
The advice. The world is full of questions and everyone is eager to get more insight in tools, tactics and trends which leads to even more questions. The more valuable ‘coaching effect’ we offer, the better our reputation becomes – and with that our convergence. ‘How to’ is the answer to those questions… and the reason for the headline of this post.
The ‘buzz verb’. Indicate with the first words what the (potential) customer is intended to do and what your business expectation is. This is a direct approach which is most often used for real lead generation.
Examples: Read now…, Buy now…, Follow up…, Enter data…
The ROI view. Especially in times of recession everybody is looking for better profitability. If there are ‘easy-to-receive’ options, people are open to use those and leave their data with your business.
Examples: Become more productive…, Save money by…, Increase sales with…

Body text
Sentence two to four (max.)…
The body text outlines the benefit and explains the customer how and why using the offer is desirable and makes sense. In my theory this should be done with the following 3 sentences, or optional as main ideas for your body text. Addressing the customer that is already leering to the point-of-sale (POS) …

Problem. Customers who see their responsibility have more urge to get in touch with your offer and business benefit than those who are just tangent to the issue as a tiny part of a (business) system. Target the people you are interested in by describing problems, duties or responsibilities your target group wants to get rid off or find an ease in – and which are on an open plate in public (business) talks.
Examples: How your live can change…, How your sales can benefit…, How your wife is happier…
Opportunity. Use stats or testimonials that your customers can identify with. These should illustrate your problem statement. In case you haven’t invented a complete new product, offer a comparison which puts the benefit in pictures like a metaphor.
Example: People that have used this have lived 3-times longer than…, People that bought this product, saved 25% off their time…
Scenario. The conclusion of the previous explanation, leading to just one intention. Wanting to ‘own’ the product, service, etc…
Example: Seeing these facts, you have the proof why…, Reading this you have not many options… (not ‘no’ option – no teacher mode!)

PS: The body text framework is also a successful structure that works for Google text ads.

Call-To-Action
Last sentence, number five…
Don’t leave the user in the scenario mode. Tell the (potential) customer what he/she needs to do now. Take him/her by the hand and push their eyes with ONE sentence to ONE action point (=URL). No confusion, just conversion!
Example: Click here…, Download now here…, Save now with one click….

Spot On!
Generally speaking: One break per ‘block’ (headline – body text – call-to-action). The shorter the message, the more open customers are to have a glance at it.

PLUS: A text ad is not a branding tool! Mentioning products more than once is useless. Trademark as well as copyright signs have no right to exist in text ads. Please use banners if you are after branding and awareness.

Brevity is the soul of wit. And if you need help, just let me know…

B2B Study: Marketers Strategies and Spendings for 2009

A recent study from Marketing Profs and Forrester Research amongst 300,000 marketing executives and other management professionals, conducted in late 2008, offers insight in the latest b2b marketing strategies, budgets, tactics and attitudes.

The key findings are that marketers have three deeper needs for the future: measuring effectiveness becomes increasingly important (i.e. webinars and search provide great tactical benefit), understanding customers deepest needs and wishes, plus exploring and learning from best practices for daily business implementation is crucial.

The report makes clear that top marketing business decision makers are relying much more on digital marketing tactics. With a high percentage of respondents saying that their company web site (91%) and email activities (81%) are the top media used for their tactics. Still, it is interesting to see that a lot of marketers work with traditional tactics like public relation (72%) and tradeshows/conferences (70%) as very important lead generation tools.

With the increasing importance of web 2.0 and social media platforms and tools for customers, companies are changing their media mix from ‘[more costly] traditional media and toward [less costly] new tactics’. Nevertheless, the marketers knowledge on tactics for the new social media platforms is still in an ‘infancy’ status.

In average, the budgets are still spend in an ‘old-school’ manner with tradeshows/conferences (20%) and TV advertising (18%) leading the marketing mix spending, followed by inside sale/telemarketing (16%) and print advertising (13%) – the leading field only interrupted by one digital marketing activity: direct mail (14%).

Spot On!
The report reflects in some way the economic crisis when the executive summary is talking of reducing spending and focusing efforts on a narrower segment of their target markets. Meaning… the so called ‘watering can’ marketing strategy is vanishing and marketing strategy will be focused much more on the digital ‘1-to-1’ as well as ‘1-to-many’ approach. The real (or potential) customers, their environment and the people influencing them has reached the marketers mind – so social media is not too far away for them to understand, and offers great opportunity to learn much more needs and wishes.

Report: Marketers web-strategy not listening to SMB needs

The latest report from Bredin Business Information (BBI) finds that SMB’s will not become customers with the common marketing strategies: Marketers are going online while small and medium-size companies are still living the offline world of direct mail and tradeshows.

The two surveys by BBI, conducted in late January and February, combine the findings of 50 leading marketers and 741 SMBs. While marketers were asked about their outreach and research efforts for 2009, the SMBs had to give some insight about their online and offline media preferences, top business issues and brand ratings. The findings show that both sides don’t go and-in-hand to reach their targets.

The marketers world
What marketers know…
SMBs rely less on traditional marketing tactics but that’s one of the top ways they like to receive product and service information.
What marketers do…
Marketers’ spending will increase spending on every online tactic (especially microsites and resource centers, social networking and webinars) but decrease budgets in direct mail, print advertising and trade shows – only PR and telemarketing will increase.

The SMB world
What SMBs rely on offline…
– 43,6% newspaper and magazine articles
– 43,5% direct mail (including letters, postcards and catalogs)
– 32% radio/TV ads
– 27,4% phone calls
What SMBs rely on online…
– 72% online referrals (friends and peers) most popular information source on products and services
– 57% search engine marketing
– 44,5% educational websites
What SMBs favorite in social media…
– 19.7% Facebook
– 15,6% LinkedIn
– 11,3% Twitter

“Marketers are clearly reacting to the difficult economy by using offline tactics much more selectively. They are also moving online aggressively, to reach SMBs efficiently and learn how to get the most from new media opportunities. (…) However, our survey of SMBs indicates that business owners are not nearly as enthusiastic about many online formats for business purposes – such as social networking – as marketers are.” said BBI CEO Stu Richards

Spot On!
The high percentage of marketers more focused on winning new customers than keeping current ones surprises… : 48% balancing their acquisition and retention efforts, 32% concentrating more on acquisition and 20% focusing more on retention. In my experience it is easier keeping clients and trying to meet their needs. Marketers should try to face the difference between customers who really ‘live and communicate the web’, and those that don’t. Going online will be the future, sure, but step-by-step with training the customers the benefits of receiving the information online. Today in some industry sectors, marketers can still put into question the high priority of moving online (3,5 on a scale of 5) and slowing down offline tactics (2,6 on a scale of 5) if the target group is not ready for listening online.