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Marketing Donut will be bringing you live blog coverage of the second Like Minds conference on Friday 26 February. In this, the second interview in our Like Minds mini-series, Olivier Blanchard (OB) explains what the Like Minds theme of “people-to-people” means to him.
Why does social media need small businesses?
OB: Firstly, the vast majority of businesses around the world are small. If only large, enterprise space companies adopt and integrate social media, we will never see the kind of broad adoption in the business world that will truly bring about the next evolution of B2C communications.
Secondly. small businesses tend to innovate faster than large ones. In terms of innovative uses and integration of social media, as well as the development of new social media tools and applications, the small business community is already doing most of the heavy lifting. Remember that pretty much every social media platform in existence today, from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to Radian6, Scoutlabs and Seesmic started out as small businesses.
What is your take on the theme of “people-to-people” for this year’s event? Will it be a lasting business culture change?
OB: Yes. People are wired to communicate, share ideas and align themselves with the communities they relate to. The very nature of "social" finds its roots in community. The evolution of communications technologies, especially in the real-time digital space, has already eliminated the 20th century's notion of “six degrees of separation”. We have now shifted to “three degrees of separation”, solely through the social web, as LinkedIn illustrates.
Now that people have adopted these technologies, there is no turning back. People are connected to real-time information today like never before, and thanks to mobile, that link has shifted from the desktop to the pocket. Facebook, Twitter and a number of other online social networks help connect people to information, to each other, and to markets 24/7, regardless of where they are. As businesses learn to interact in this real-time P2P culture, both they AND their customers will learn to rely more and more on this type of instant communication. Barring a technological or cultural cataclysm, there is no turning back now: technology has taken P2P from physical face-to-face to digital face-to-face, breaking down geographic, time-zone and socio-cultural barriers, and facilitating not only communications but commerce. The ball isn't likely to roll backwards.
What can we expect from you at Like Minds People-to-People?
OB: Clarity. What I hope to convey to the audience at Like Minds P2P is first and foremost a clear vision and framework for properly integrating social media in their business or organisation, from strategy and multi-silo planning to layered management and rich measurement. There's a method to integrating social media and P2P in the enterprise, and I will focus exclusively on that.
Olivier Blanchard is a social media expert blogger and strategist. He manages the Brandbuilder marketing company and advises on brand strategy in order for firms to adapt to integrating traditional and new media marketing techniques.
Sponsorship, once a symbol of corporate excess, is now finding its place within the business world—especially in the digital sector, where sponsors know how to best maximise ROI from these channels. By its nature sponsorship creates ideal digital marketing opportunities. It has the flexibility to provide platforms for brands to create exclusive content and online experiences as well as being able to engage directly with their audience.
Marketers are desperately searching for new and economical avenues to create stronger relationships between their brands and target audiences. One avenue that’s resurgent is sponsorship, which is proving a powerful way to engage with consumers while cost-effectively growing the business at the same time – a win-win situation for all involved.
For example Silverpop, a U.S.-based organisation that provides worldwide Web-based solutions, signed up to exclusively sponsor the 2010 DMA Digital Tracking Study. This partnership has provided Silverpop with a sought-after tool to reach out to the top marketing professionals in the UK, a market that they are developing. Additionally, this has helped the DMA to provide the latest research to its members.
Although partnerships are not a new theory, strategic business sponsorships can be new territory. However, providing they fit, they can be immensely successful. As digital marketers are usually first on the starting block I anticipate this trend will continue to grow across other sectors for those companies looking for more cost-effective and engaged marketing.
If you aren’t part of the digital sponsors who make up more than 50% of the total sponsors at the DMA, you might be wondering what you are missing.
One of my all time favourite films of the last ten years is the futuristic action movie Minority Report. I remember watching in fascination as our hero John Anderton passed through a shopping centre of the future. The whole sequence was brilliant. Billboards and advertising changed as people walked past, tannoy systems in shops welcomed you back and asked how your last purchase was working out. It was both a scary and tantalising view of the future.
Minority Report was released in 2002 and only eight years later Augmented Reality (AR), the blending of the real and virtual world, has exploded into popular culture. Some of the highlights include iPhone apps that use the camera to overlay directions to your nearest Starbucks, and interactive kiosks demonstrating yet to be manufactured products at trade shows. For business in general, and retail in particular, it seems that the opportunities are endless.
I have a t-shirt at home with a slogan "RL has rubbish FPS". Translating, this means that real life isn't as good as virtual. Sadly my t-shirt is right, the real world is still light years away from the possibilities of Minority Report. Where are the interactive billboards? Where is the personalised voice?
However, with smart phone adoption going stratospheric, developers are finding new ways to supplement real life. For retail, my current favourite augmented app is Google Goggles. Goggles allows you to take a picture of a product, logo or landmark and look it up on the web.
Surfing the web via real life items is a revolutionary concept. Not only will this allow you to look up online pricing while arguing with the sales person in your local garage, but it also means that you can discover more about the sculpture and its creator while on a museum trip, just by taking a photo.
The ecommerce world is getting in on the act too. Several major online clothing companies are rolling out the "Magic Mirror" feature. It allows you to try clothes on via your webcam from the comfort of your own home. This Christmas Hugo Boss also trialled an impressive online and offline marketing campaign based around a game of blackjack, using both the real tangible items and virtual pixelated content. And we’re just at the start of the possibilities.
Why don't you see for yourself and give one of the following augmented experiences a go:
I am not yet expecting my embarrassing shopping habits to be blurted out over a loud speaker as I walk into Tesco. But some aspects of the future have definitely arrived already. Brace yourself for the ride, it’s going to be exciting.
Marketing Donut will be bringing you live blog coverage of the second Like Minds conference on Friday 26 February. To whet your appetite, we caught up with the social media conference organiser, Scott Gould, to find out more about his Like Minds journey and what to expect at the forthcoming event.
How did Like Minds come about?
SG: It started when Trey Pennington and I arranged a meet up when he was over in the country. He suggested we start a "social media club" in the style of what he'd been doing across the United States. I got to work on the idea with Andrew Ellis (who became my partner in Like Minds) in August 2009. Andrew challenged me to make the event highly accessible and affordable rather than expensive and exclusive, with the idea of reaching a wide range of people who were also thinking with an eye on innovation. Hence the name, Like Minds.
What did you take home from the first Like Minds event which focussed on ROI?
SG: It takes investment in the first place to ensure a return on investment. Then you've got the work of social media, engagement, policies, guidelines. And measuring all of this is no 'one tool fits all'. It takes work and careful analysis to have measurement that is meaningful. All of this is effort.
Of course to core business activities, this is how things have always been. But there's this misconception that social media is free and easy. It isn't.
How will Like Minds 2010 format be different from the first event in 2009 (workshops etc)?
SG: We've worked hard to bring multiple ways to get inspired, to learn and connect with each other into one event. Whilst we still have keynotes and panels, like we did last time, we've first of all been able to welcome speakers and panellists who are world class leaders in their respective industries.
We have then created an innovative lunch time workshop format in partnership with local restaurants that allows delegates to talk over specific subjects with our speakers. This means they get workshop time with these experts to get first-hand integration advice. Integration is a big focus for us this year, hence we are also holding free workshops hosted by our sponsors during the week leading up.
You pride yourself on the low ticket price. If that isn’t enough to convince a small business to attend, what is?
SG: Yeah we're proud about the price, but even more proud about the incredible line-up of people we have coming. Our keynote speakers and panelists consist of a range of backgrounds, cultures, industries, sectors and experience. We have the world foremost social media thought leader speaking, Chris Brogan, and two other top ten social media bloggers and Orange's head of internet.
Then when it comes to networking and lunchtime you'll find out how many incredible and successful people are just coming to attend. Some of the delegates flying in from America and Europe are worth the ticket price just to meet.
The theme for this year is People-to-People — tell us more about this.
SG: Social media have introduced a more personal form of business communication, which is replacing the anonymous corporate communication that has tended to prevail hitherto. Thus, the lines between the organisational voice and the individual voices of representatives of organisations have become blurred – to a large extent it’s now the individual voice that prevails. B2B, B2C, consumer, prosumer and owner forms of communication now follow a more socialised model; collaborating and conducting business in a way that is fundamentally different to ten years, and even five years ago.
Understanding this is vital. We have keynote speakers and panellists talking from such a wide range of experience and expertise that most business types and sectors will be covered at the conference.
Companies are generally very good at collecting customer data. They have processes and systems in place to record every touch point a customer has with them. Whether it be in-store, online, through an email or direct mail campaign or via telesales and telemarketing, behaviour is tracked from various sources and saved into various systems.
However, all too often this data is not integrated, it is stored in different locations or departments (web databases/offline databases/telesales databases etc) and is never consolidated into one central location. As a result companies fail to create an individual customer view and ultimately miss seeing the value of their data.
This is because segmented customer data can’t be analysed for trends or buying habits and opportunities to cross sell or up sell are missed. Most importantly, you cannot build a relationship with your customer without knowing everything about them.
By using an intelligent data management solution that will automatically pull customer data from your various sources into one central database, you can start to build an individual view of each customer, learn everything about them and begin to build valuable, meaningful relationships.
When you can see, on one simple interface who your customer is, their browsing and buying history, what messages they respond to, how they respond, at what time, what they like and don’t like you can communicate with them in a relevant and targeted way, learn about them and understand how they interact with you. By doing this you begin to add real value to your data.
The next step needs to be taken in data capture and individual customer views need to be created to ensure trends and behaviours aren’t missed or ignored and businesses can begin to learn about every aspect of their customer.
So if it's not just your name and logo what is it? A brand will be made up of a collection of different perceptions that will have been built up after exposure to every aspect of your business. This can be a myriad of different things:
Any one person could be exposed to all or just one of these variables, that when mixed together form the brand in their mind. There are many ways you will be able to influence what the brand means to people, so you can steer its direction.
Left untouched and uncared for, without clear direction, your brand will take a course that will lead to fewer and fewer customers. So have a think about the list above – and see what sort of brand you’re presenting across the board. Is it all working to a common direction and goal? Is it the direction you want it to take? If not, you may just need to get clarity and some help setting the direction. It doesn’t take long and will be well worth the effort.