Marketing software to self-educating customers

Users are getting a bit more clever and they want to research and try things for themselves before they commit to the full assault of your sales team. 

"Cisco’s customers were beginning to purchase and use technology in new ways. Increasingly, tech-savvy business managers, instead of just IT professionals, were making buying decisions; user-generated applications were being added on top of the basic technology; cloud computing was becoming prominent; and digital media was becoming a key influence in deciding which technologies to purchase. Customers were self-educating and researching buying decisions in new ways – not just with a sales person."

Self-educating customers, the horror. I'm always moaning that enterprise software companies make you sit through half day demos and then you get to the end and you can't have a play around. Two things I came across today that are good. Splunk. See these guys are smart enough to create a sandpit for you to have go with. Very good, everyone do this please

grab your dataz and have a go
product info and play area

Number two is this launch campaign from Adobe for Premier Clip. It’s a free mobile movie making app that aims to make video more accessible and useable for those that don't want to go hard out with Final Cut Pro. 

#madewithclip Purrrmiere -get it hahaa 

I really like the video with the marketing team explaining their products and the simple walk throughs that encourage users to download straight away and try for themselves.  

Content is all tagged up and optimised nicely. Personal and useful and makes everything look easy and fun while still maintaining the product quality of Adobe Creative Cloud. Most excellent blog links through to themed user content 

Think about products and tools that you use regularly and how you originally came across them. Self education is getting more crucial for marketers so always think how you can get your products into the hands of your users ASAP before their little minds wander off to the land of cat gifs --ooo look it's Maru (=^‥^=)

no1 best cat on the internet Maru

Keep enterprise social in the green zone with proactive social media policy

Some of you may have seen conversations this week around a person who was given the boot from a marketing automation company, and, without wanting to get into that specific case  I think it’s important to be aware of the issues for organisations and create a safe playground for everyone. One way of doing this is by creating piles of Green, Orange and Red zone topics relative to the organisational opportunity and risk. 

Company social media policies were very trendy there for a while and seem to have gone off the agenda lately because everyone has calmed down a bit and realised that there are companies who do this stuff really well and if you just copy them and get everyone on the same page then the whole company isn’t going to collapse if someone says a sweary word on Twitter. There are 'oops, I’m so embarrassed I had a massive fail things' and there are blatantly flying in the face of a company-wide approach and not being considerate of other people trying to do their jobs things. Do it enough times and the other kids will start complaining which may result in your removal from the playground. 

The real opportunity here is in the Green zone. Creating a healthy and creative playground where people can express their ideas and have fun at work and not be stressed about someone narking them out to HR for uploading cat gifs at work (cat gifs are definitely Green zone).  So have a look at your company social policy and try to Green it up a bit by telling people heaps about what you want them to do online while being kind enough to talk them through the perils of the Red zone for their own good. 

So, actionable thingee number one. Find a social media policy that you like, copy, paste, modify. Cisco has a good one as does the US Department of Defense and Thomson Reuters. Good now you have a starting point and can start sorting your topics. 

Green zone topics are the ones that you actively want people talking about online. Your company being a great place to work, cool charity work your team does, industry research that supports the company. You can then pad them out even further with verticals and humans to speak proactively on Green topics. 

Orange zone topics is where you will have the most debate. The proceed with caution topics that you will kind of close one eye on but kind of want people to steer clear of if possible. For example, if you do client site Facebook checkin every time you are pitching for business and people can see who you are talking to all the time (I actually follow someone on Facebook who does this) it’s not very stealthy. 

One of the main criteria I have for Orange is: is there someone employed to manage this communication as part of their role? If there is, then general employees shouldn’t be touching it, they should be referring it to the person whose job it is. For example, Investor Relations in most companies is managed by a client side Communications manager or an agency. Employees should refer these conversations to the Communications manager. Other Orange topics might be general moans about your fellow employees, how dirty the company kitchen is, politics, details of your date last night and subsequent night time activities (ahem) and general trolling of competitors. Orange may also include who you get to talk to. For example, one, pre-social media one I used to get a lot was journalists going into supermarkets and trying to get store staff to comment on union issues as a representative of the company. It’s a lot harder to figure out this flow of information online but again, educate people for their own protection so their comments don’t end up embedded on a news site. 

Red zone topics are the bring in the lawyers ones. Some people really don’t like having this conversation and don’t actually believe that an employee should get thrown overboard for things said on social but I do. I very much do because I’ve been looking at data off social media monitors for about six years now and by golly I’ve seen some interesting things. One example was a retail store employee on Bebo giving instructions on how to steal iPhones from their shop including the location of the key to the glass case. Live blogging call centre conversations (lol but very privacy fail from your local bank), blabbing about people coming in for job interviews. Confidential company research findings and financial results, intellectual property including mock ups and storyboards, that sort of thing. 

Once you have some agreement on the piles it’s important to make it super clear to everyone that the safe playground idea is actually for their own protection and stops annoying busy bodies who sit at home at night going through your accounts from being massive kill joys and ruining social for everyone. Yes, I have been on multiple sides of this debate. 

Now you have this outline, the policy is managed by going big on the Green zone and using this as part of marketing and other communication activities. However, if someone keeps hitting on the Orange and annoying everyone then you have to dial things up and make the Orange a Red. Without knowing the details of the (cough, Oracle) case I mentioned earlier, I would imagine this is what has happened but remember the reason people are talking about it, is because it's the exception so gear you policy for the cool, Green zone of wonderful cats, clever employees and engaged customers. 

Will IT and Marketing teams really merge?

Yesterday in Sydney, IBM had a thing called a Connected Customer Forum. It was at The American Club which is a very nice place indeed with views over the water and pictures on the wall of grand star-spangled people of old with funny haircuts and tapestries of eagles. 

tapestry of eagle as seen on wall

It was targeted at enterprise marketing and IT humans and it had some nice case studies and research and jazz versions of Paul Simon classics playing in the background. As a Paul Simon appreciator I found this very pleasing. Then, a person from Forrester stood up and said we should merge IT and marketing in this diagram made of green cough drops. 

diagram of green cough drops

I agree in theory but I don't think it will happen at the speed necessary.  

What I think (hope) will happen is that more user-friendly, reliable, cloud software will force asset-based tech roles to become more operational and that function-let's call them Operations- will keep the wheels spinning for the Marketing people to stay facing outward and talking to customers. 

The Marketing function will have business analysts who determine operational requirements and determine the best way to deliver what the customer needs. The Operations (IT) function makes sure it all goes. 

What's critical to this working is Marketing people taking the lead on new software acquisitions and not letting CRM and campaign management tool setups become four-year IT projects. 

I think it's possible. Look at the giant leaps companies like Cisco and Fairfax Media are taking in bring your own device (BYOD) strategies to keep costs down and stay up-to-date with devices and cloud software. 

If the software keeps driving the change then hopefully the humans will be forced to reorganise and you can go to lots of lovely events with your friendly IT people and eat sausage rolls together. 

marketing and IT people eating sausage rolls together

Won't that be nice. 

Asia Pacific will generate the most cloud traffic by 2016

Cisco has released its Cisco® Global Cloud Index is an ongoing effort to forecast the growth of global data centre and cloud-based IP traffic.

Of interest in this region, the study predicts that by 2016, Asia Pacific will generate the most cloud traffic (1.5 zettabytes annually); followed by North America (1.1 zettabytes annually); and Western Europe (1 zettabyte annually).

Cloud traffic, which will increase six-fold over the forecast period and represent nearly two-thirds of all data centre traffic by 2016. 

By 2016, nearly two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud. 

Additional trends influencing the growth of cloud computing include the widespread adoption of multiple devices combined with increasing user expectations to access applications and content anytime, from anywhere, over any network.  

The study also considers the importance of broadband ubiquity and its relationship to cloud readiness. A full copy of the report is available below.