How to keep marketing cloud projects moving

One sure way to sink a marketing cloud project is to fragment it. 

"You can use Yammer if you want- but we will continue to use the intranet in our region"

"If you want to put the photos on Flickr that's great. We use the ad agency image server and we're happy doing it this way"

"I have an email influencer list in my Outlook. You just send me what you want sent out and I'll send it from my account, I don't think we need a CMS".

Getting people to adopt new marketing technologies and consumer realities are change projects.  Regardless of what Facebook did this week or what button is on the new Samsung, technology will keep moving and individuals in workplaces will have to make decisions to change, or get left behind. That sounds harsh but I'm increasingly convinced that the best way to keep the momentum of change rolling in enterprise is to invite everyone around the table and keep running with the people who stay there. People will disagree with you and that's healthy and normal. Passive objection from individuals wandering off and starting side projects only dilutes the focus and slows down the inevitable change required. 

People are either facing in or they are facing out.

Keep going and don't get distracted by people who choose to not engage. 

How to deal with misinformation in the age of the Google news desk

The first global media event I worked on was a big one. I was called in as a contractor and, to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. 

I was posted on the night shift from 10pm-6am and I would sit and teach myself how to use the fancy new media monitoring software and type up the media call logs the managers had scribbled on Post Its. Nothing really happened and nobody called. 

At 6am, I would then do a handover to the main media person who would get hammered with phone calls from media and government officlas for the next 12 hours from 6am to 6pm. She eventually walked off the job due to stress and I was put in the big seat. 

As the media event hit week eight, the misinformation was getting worse and there was a lot of criticism about 'no communication' from the Ministry.

We had to keep pointing journalists to the weekly update figures.  I was getting small waves of calls throughout the day, with each journalist asking exactly the same questions. I would try to slow them down while I fumbled for my weekly numbers print out and asked them how their day was going. They all seemed to be starting or finishing a shift and monitoring the story for handovers. 

"Yeah we've seen those, you put those out last Friday, why are you stonewalling us? What else is going on?" they would ask and start digging around other news sources. 

Week nine and we had a big conference call with all the government officials and some of the best spin doctors in the land. The first thing agreed was that we were to continue the weekly updates to the media. 

"I don't know about other regions but I need them daily," I said. 

"The pattern is following the radio rosters and when they are doing their handovers. If we make it clear for them, then the correct information will get out and reported. All the other journalists are then Googling the correct figures and information, and we are pushing down the false stuff. A week is too long and they are rehashing incorrect reports. We need to flood them with correct data for a while. Even if it's just restating the same thing. Put a daily report on the website and we look more assertive. Email a daily situation update to the media then we know it's accurate. Put big date stamps on everything. Make it look live and current."

The conference line went dead apart from a few clicks from the mute buttons. 

"We will continue with the weekly reports", said the government Minister. 

You're probably better off reading the Mary Meeker one

I read two research reports last night. 

One was on internet trends like mobile phone adoption in China versus the United States and Chinese people now have lots of phones. I've linked to the slideshare so you can have a look through that. It's a Mary Meeker thing and she's quite clever. 

The second one was about uppercase C creative-as-a-person-and-a-noun in Adland and how important those anointed, special people are and how we should be nicer to those people and spend more money with them and not be annoying them with unreasonable requests like asking for measurable outcomes. I'm sure you'll be shocked to discover that the report was published by a purveyor of the magical bottled upper case C creative elixer that can only be found in the armpits of those who write with Artline 200 pens. 

The first report stated the environment situation as it currently is and predicted where it is going.

The second report tried to desperately justify a business model that no longer makes money. 

I was bored by then so I went and looked at some lower case c creative curation by teenagers on lower case t tumblr on my lower case i iPhone and was entertained for about an hour. 

Learning how to share with the other kids

Savarekareka Primary School Savusavu, Fiji 1988

I was going through some old photos the other day and came across this one of my class in Fiji- can you tell which one is me?

We moved there when I was about ten. My Dad was the game fishing guide at a new resort called Na Koro (now known as Jean-Michel Cousteau) and we lived in the hotel.  

During the week, I got on the back of the gardener's ute and went to a regular local school where I was only 'Kaivalagi' (non-Fijian) in a school of about 300 Fijian kids. 

Aside from the obvious language and afro hair differences, the biggest adjustment was learning that 'my things' were no longer 'my things'. 

Fijian kids share everything. 

For a kiwi kid used to having my pencil case and my shoes and my sandwich this took a bit of getting used to. 

It was not uncommon to see someone walking around in my sandals or a kid in the junior class with my ruler-no matter how large I wrote my name on stuff. 

One morning, I went in to find my colouring pens had been distributed across the classroom.

I asked one of the girls, Mary (the one with the white shoes in the photo) to please return my purple pen. 

"Do you need to use it now?", she asked. 

"Well…no…" I wasn't sure where this was going,"but they're mine and you didn't ask and I don't like people going into my desk and…who got them out in the first place?

"Let me know when you need to use purple for your colouring and I'll give it back to you," Mary replied and kept colouring. 

Fijian kids think differently. The idea that 'my pens have to live in my pencil case in my desk' is foreign to them.

Sharing is an efficient system where how things got there and who owns them is not so important.  Because they are naturally generous, any concerns about 'you are using up my pen' don't exist because they are so open-handed with everything they have. The same Mary that uses your purple pen on Monday will be the same Mary that gives you half her lunch on Wednesday. Because nobody keeps score on who is using what, the system self-regulates and there are clear benefits of belonging to the community. 

I see many attempts at online community building fail because people don't approach things with a spirit of curiosity and open-handedness. If a return isn't seen in the first interaction, the brand pulls back and takes their colouring pens back to their desk. The collaboration and sharing economies are foreign to us because we are so focused on someone using our toys, rather than the fact that we get to use other people's. Demanding that people share, like, retweet, comment, attend your thing, buy your thing, give their data, give their contacts, seldom works. 

Letting people use your ruler, wear your shoes and eat your sandwich most definitely does.  

Gateways and how audiences discover news online

I get a bit stabby seeing 'blogging' and 'social media' treated as two separate things in research (I've always considered blogging the cornerstone of any social strategy)  but I've just seen something in the latest Reuters data that has made me concede that the distinction can be kind of useful in a publishing context. 

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013 'Tracking the Future of News' has some interesting analysis on gateways and how audiences discover news online.  

"Although in many countries audiences place the highest trust on online news from familiar providers, they are using an increasingly varied set of ways to find that content. Google, Facebook, and Apple have become – to a greater or lesser extent – intermediaries for a large proportion of news journeys online. As a result, they have been able to take a significant share of the available advertising revenue around news, making the funding of trusted content arguably more uncertain. Our data show brand, search, and social media the most important discovery mechanisms, with search particularly important in European countries like France and Germany." 

The table shows social sites playing a much greater role in news discovery than blogs and performing at levels competitive with branded news sites.  Social as a gateway to audiences and thus, how news is paid for, should give publishers insight into how editorial resource is allocated for marketing news brands such as personal branding of journalists on social sites.  

I know the concept of personal branding leaves many editorial types a bit cold but if you look through the 'how digital news if paid for' sections of the report and the analysis on page 89 -the commercial reality is laid out clearly. Most large news brands are only generating 15-25% of their revenues from digital so getting teams aligned around the success of the branded sites benefits all parts of the business. 

A full version of the Reuters report is below:

Adobe research shows marketers are missing the digital mark

New research from adobe marketing cloud 'Click Here: The State of Online Advertising' shows that marketers are still sticking to what they know and haven't yet developed the skills and confidence to develop integrated online media plans. 

I've just pulled out one page that shows the leaning to TV and print in the mix. Blogs and social should be tracking a lot higher based on effectiveness measures that we're seeing from comscore and nielsen but the mindset of loading the media mix in traditional continues. It's chicken and egg: failure to invest in online leads to lower quality campaigns, lack of discernment in media buying, and a perception of ineffectiveness from both the consumer and the marketer. 

I wouldn't pay too much attention to most of the qual 'consumer' rankings, (consumers always say they aren't influenced by marketing) other than perhaps some privacy level perceptions on page 14 that could be useful considerations when comparing transactional permissions and third-party data sharing. 

Have a look through the full report if you have a few minutes. 




How do you keep online communities at the right temperature?

I was speaking at an event once where people kept complaining about the room temperature. 

The room was quite full and some people complained it was too hot and stuffy. 

We'll call these people Segment A: open the windows.

A second group of people were also hot and wanted the windows closed so the air-conditioning could work better. 

We'll call these people Segment B: close the windows.

A third group of people were cold and wanted the air-conditioning turned down. 

We'll call these people -all of the women in the room (just jokes) Segment C : turn the air-conditioning down. 

I was probably in Segment A but didn't want to annoy Segment B and thought that in the afternoon I would probably become Segment C so I went and asked the hotel person for help. 

She walked in, dramatically flung open all the windows and turned the air-conditioning on full.  Gasps of 'wow that's so much better' and a few thank-you's and receptive nods went across the room.  I went up to her, impressed with the immediate result but not quite sure on the strategy. 

"But that won't do anything," I said, "all the cold air just goes out the window."

She nodded and tapped her air-con remote wisely. 

"Yes- but everyone thinks that they're being listened to and they stop complaining. After 25 years of conference management you learn a few things. Enjoy your afternoon session."

She then strode off in her sensible hotel management shoes to the next room to make the coffee hot and cold at the same time, or something.

It's a tough job being on the front lines and keeping everyone happy so when you see your community managers doing things that look a little odd online, trust them. Sometimes you need to fling open a few windows to keep the room at the right temperature. Constructing a multi-attribute service design model has its place but not in the middle of a service encounter. People who understand humans and what makes them happy (or grumpy) are a very valuable thing and it's important that people are empowered to act live in their environments, even if the solution is a bit odd. 

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.