Monthly Archives: August 2008

Consensus Learning Model

My question about whether you learned anything at SES or not didn’t get much reaction.  I suspect the answers were polarized, with half the people thinking “not really, I go there for other reasons” and the other half thinking “of course I did”.

Answers to that question might have been helpful, but…

What I’m really questioning is this: How do people in the web space learn what they learn?  Associated questions are:

1.  Has quantity eclipsed quality as a yardstick for the success?

2.  Implications for Teachers / Course Developers of the answer to #1

There are also some serious implications for “Web Marketing” adoption (in all forms) by the broader Marketing community buried in the above.  To me, this is not unlike the “CRM Problem”, where for years (and still) people confused the Technology solution with the Marketing potential, which set CRM back a decade.

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You Learn Anything at SES?

SES = Search Engine Strategies San Jose, for those not in the know.

And I mean the question literally.  Not did you have a good time, see lots of friends, do a lot of beneficial networking, talk to customers, build your reputation, create content for your blog, etc.

Did you Learn anything?

Looking at the stream of blog posts, video, Tweets and so forth – much of it incredibly repetitive by the way, which is a whole other issue for this type of Journalism – I have to wonder if anybody except those new to Search actually learned anything.  You know, walked away with new knowledge they could use to improve their efforts.

I have more than a passing curiosity about this issue from a macro perspective.  As you might know, I am a Co-Chair on the Web Analytics Association’s Education Committee, responsible for creating the WAA’s Core Curriculum and upcoming Certification Testing.  So I think a lot about Learning and Education, especially as it relates to the web.  And that thinking includes different “delivery models” like Conferences.

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Marketing Productivity Analysts

Businesses usually have some analysts around, even if the business is not particularly “data-driven”.

The term Business Analyst has been around for a while, usually referring to a person who is a translator of sorts between Business Units and IT.  These people try to make sure “requirements” from the business side are implemented as desired on the IT side.

Sometimes there are Operational Analysts, who are typically IT folks or Engineers, depending on the business.  This is the world of Six Sigma and process, where the business is trying to improve throughput or cut down on waste.  But we know that just because Operations is Operating Just Fine, we don’t always get the result we would like from a Marketing perspective.

A similar Analyst might be present in Marketing Operations Management.  This is really about the process of Marketing execution though, not Acquisition / Retention / Customer Value.

I don’t think I have ever seen a decent-sized business without Financial Analysts.  These folks look for variances or unusual activity in Financial Reporting and seek to explain why.  Sometimes they actually get involved with Marketing analysis, though usually not for something like “Campaigns”.  Instead, they look for structural problems that manifest as a “problem with Marketing” in the Financial systems.

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Nike Optimizes Liu Xiang Situation

Nike Liu Xiang - Love

If you’re not familiar with the Liu Xiang and his injury, see here.

In a brilliant, and stunningly swift move for a large org, Nike has managed to get full page “Just Do It” print ads into this morning’s China papers supporting Liu Xiang.  The “Love” treatment, which you can see more on here, has this copy (translated from the Mandarin):

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Operations is Operating Just Fine

99.99% Up time and No Broken Links – What Else Do You Want?

Do you remember web sites when the web was ruled by engineers?  Before Marketing-oriented folks  forced issues like analytics, usability, and testing into the mix?

Just because systems are Operating within Operational guidelines doesn’t mean they’re Optimized for Marketing / Experience.  Yet often these systems are responsible for customer touch point execution in one way or another, directly or indirectly, and have measurable effects on customer value.  Call center screens and scripts.  VRU’s.  Invoices and Packing Slips.  These are the obvious ones. 

Here’s some others:  Contact Reason Codes.  Payment processing.  Inventory management.  Mail room and Address Correction.  Depending on your business model, there are probably dozens.

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Onliners Return to Start

With thoughts on what this means for offline media and planning

I wonder how many of today’s online marketers, and particularly the evangelists in Social, have read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (1999) or The Engaged Customer by Hans Peter Brondmo (2002).  Why?  Because these two books tell you why Interactive is different, explain how it is different, and provide the background you need to be successful at it.  For example, they explain how Social works before Social even existed in its current form.

How could these books predict the current climate?  Because “Social” – the Interactive behavior and psychology that drives it – is what happens when you create Interactivity.  These ideas are fundamental to Interactivity, they exist regardless of the tools to enable them.

Social, the tools and applications, are simply software iterations around these fundamentals.  Software continues to morph and evolve.  But the emotions and behavior driving today’s Social activity are fundamentally no different from the emotions and behavior that drove the proper use of interactivity for Marketing in CompuServe or discussion boards or e-mail discussion lists.  Community.  Sharing.  The rules and etiquette of good Interactive relationships.

What I’ve come to realize after a lot of discussions and thought is this:

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Business Prevention Committee

Do you have a BPC (Business Prevention Committee) where you work?

The BPC may not have a formal meeting schedule, so it can be difficult to tell who is actually on the Committee.  But you can often tell who is on the BPC by looking for these signs:

1.  Person has a narrow view of the company or customer, a “my silo” thinker.  For example, a Marketing person who doesn’t care about the negative impact of a marketing program on customer service.

2.  Person is generally averse to testing new ideas, a “this is the way it has always been done” kind of personality.  BPC’ers never admit to being wrong about an idea, especially ones that have to do with “change” of some kind.

3.  Talk of performance-based measurement and compensation makes BPC’ers very nervous.  Not fans of their own skin in the game, getting a little risk on the table.  Like many bloggers, they just repeat what they read.  No data, no conviction, and no responsibility.

4.  A fundamental lack of knowledge about how the business really works.  Worse, won’t take the time to find out what they don’t know because “that’s not my job”.

The best way to go about dismantling the BPC in your company is?

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Social for Business

Sam Decker of BazaarVoice has posted a cogent, well-supported argument on the business benefits of social applications.  Many of the themes will be familiar to readers of this blog, including the substantial cross-functional reduction of Friction that can take place when you have this kind of data, and some of the cultural issues surrounding adoption of the data-driven culture.

Here’s what I don’t get though.  Many of these goals could be accomplished though customer service analysis and other data the company already has.  In fact, you could argue in many cases, the data you get from internal sources would be better since you could work some of the bias out of it and correlate with actual behavior.

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