Thursday’s Chicago AMA Event – Social Media: Beyond the Chaos

Social Media Beyond the Chaos 2This Thursday, I am on the speaker list for a special event organized by the Chicago branch of the American Marketing Association.  And I’m looking forward to not only presenting, but meeting a bunch of new people who are interested in social media marketing.

There will be three other main speakers in addition to myself, all with 20 minute presentations about our experiences with social media marketing, whether in B2B or B2C.   After the presentations, we will have a panel Q&A discussion. 

I’ll be talking about two topics during my 20 minute slot.

  1. How IBM is approaching the development of a digital communications strategy that aligns with the IBM Brand.
  2. An overview of how we at IBM plan out social media marketing strategies.

I’ll post my slide deck up on Slideshare tomorrow at http://www.slideshare.net/HorizonWatching

The other speakers joining me are…

  • Blagica Bottigliero, Director of Social Media, Motorola Mobility
  • Troy Janisch, Social Media Manager, Digital Marketing, American Family Insurance
  • Jennifer Severns, Creative Director, Zocalo Group

You can read up on their bios at this site.

Here are the event details:

  • Event Name:  Social Media: Beyond the Chaos
  • Date of Event:  Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Time:  Registration opens 3:30pm.  Presentations begin at 4pm.  At 6:30 we will close the presentations down, but people can stay up until 8pm for networking opportunities.
  • Event Location:  Alhambra Palace / Marrakech Room, 1240 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
  • Registration:  If you have not registered, you may still be able to get a ‘ticket’ to the event although last I heard they were almost sold out. The registration website is http://www.chicagoama.org/events/social-media-beyond-chaos

For those of you wanting to follow along on Twitter, the hashtag will be #AMASocial.  If I don’t see you at the event, perhaps I’ll see you on Twitter!

A Primer on the Trend Towards Video-enabled Business Processes

“One-third of online consumers in the US regularly watch user-generated videos on sites like YouTube“ – Forrester, Sept, 2010 (link)

“178 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in August for an average of 14.3 hours per viewer“ – comScore, Sept, 2010 (Link )

“70% of global online consumers watch online video. More than half of global online consumers watch online video in the workplace.” – Nielsen, Aug 2010 Link

When you think of it, kids growing up today are used to creating, uploading, and watching videos online. It is part of their daily activity.  It is how they interact with their friends.  It is how they get the information they need. If my kids are having a particular problem understanding a subject at school, they just enter a search into YouTube and they get the information they need. If they want to learn how to play a favorite song on the piano, they can find that on YouTube as well. If you want to find out how to change the faucet on one of your sinks in your house, you can find that too.

Sametime video_chat_composite Online video is becoming a natural part of our learning and collaborative processes as consumers.  Increasingly, consumers are relying on videos as a way to learn about companies and it’s products and services prior to making a purchase decision.  And consumers are beginning to expect to find videos online to help them with post-purchase support questions

So I believe its only a matter of time before employees expect videos to be a part of every business website, every business process. When the teenager of today enters the business workforce, they will expect videos to be embedded in all business applications as part of the learning and collaborative process.

I stared at IBM long before the Internet was around.  We learned and collaborated in a different way.  I could simply walk down the hall or across the building to reach a colleague live and in person, and collaborate on an intimate level. But in today’s virtual workplace, such interactions are harder, if not impossible, to come by, if they happen at all. And yet the need for such face-to- face exchanges hasn’t gone away; if anything, it’s greater than ever.

Technology is available today that allows us to collaborate face to face even though we are thousands of miles away from each other. Many companies have already implemented videoconferencing for executive briefing centers and have learned that this form of collaboration is a powerful way to communicate and can strengthen existing relationships. The ability to view colleagues, both inside and outside the enterprise, and see their reactions to important discussions is invaluable, particularly for situations involving selling, negotiation and starting up a new team. 

Video is increasingly important as tool in business processes, particularly in situations where visual information is critical to a discussion.  Processes like marketing, support, and training could all benefit from the use of videos.  In fact, I expect that over the next 10-20 years, the use of videos will impact most business processes, causing need for new roles, responsibilities, and education. IT leaders will need to understand the impact on the infrastructure and will need to have an overall video strategy that is aligned to business objectives.

Sametime Meetings_Rich_18Nov09 I expect 2011 to bring increased focus on integrating video into the matrix of different communication types within an organization in order to provide a seamless communication system across multiple networks, applications and devices.  In 2011, innovative business and IT leaders will have pilots and projects underway to understand how to make the best use of videos within the enterprise.

Of course I don’t expect this trend to be one that reaches mass adoption overnight in 2011, but I do expect to hear of some leading edge companies that are starting to embrace video and embed video collaboration into it’s processes and infrastructure.  These leading edge companies will provide the case studies that help convince other companies to do the same.

The rest of this post provides you with additional background on this trend, some additional marketplace quotes, and a list of websites and resources.

Drivers

  • High cost of travel
  • Remote employees
  • Customers want video, and often engage more readily with video content than written content

Inhibitors/Challenges

  • Video production is often seen as expensive (but it does not have to be)
  • Bandwidth

Implications

  • Videos will impact most business processes, causing need for new roles, responsibilities, and education.
  • What are the video applications that are driving strategic change?
  • IT leaders need to understand impact on the infrastructure
  • What impact will pervasive video and connectivity have on customers?
  • Need to have an overall video strategy that is aligned to business objectives

Quotes from the Marketplace:

“Mobile Video: is already used by 11% of global online consumers: penetration is highest in Asia-Pacific and among consumers in their late 20s“ – Nielsen, Aug 2010 Link

“User-generated content gives Web site visitors a voice and a presence, while giving organizations more opportunities to interact and communicate with their visitors. Smart companies align with users by allowing them to upload home-grown videos related to communications campaigns or products promotion.” – Frost (link)

“Top video-enabled organizations are able to shift the focus from supporting video to aligning video with accelerated business processes such as improved product development, accelerated talent acquisition, and revenue-enhanced sales opportunities.” – Hyoun Park, Aberdeen Link

“Technology that lets employees collaborate face-to-face without actually being face-to face can facilitate virtual collaboration easily and very cost-effectively. PC-based video conferencing software is that technology..” – Frost & Sullivan Link

 For More Information

Here are some sites where you will find links to other learning resources like white papers, demos, customer briefs, and videos.

Voice / Video Convergence Delivers Value

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IBM: Transforming your voice, video and collaboration infrastructure

Additional www.ibm.com Links

Here are some additional sites where you will find links to other learning resources like white papers, demos, customer briefs, and videos

A Primer on the Website Personalization Trend

The Personalized Web will be driven by analytic engines that will integrate data from many sources in order to present an online experienced tailored to each user.

Thanks to the explosion of social media, how users are influenced, consume information, and make purchasing decisions has been altered forever.  Users are increasingly expecting company websites, products, and services to be tailored to their individual preferences, past experiences, and what they happen to be doing at this very moment.  This puts the demand on business and IT leaders to create a personalized and engaging experience for end-users across all channels, both online and offline. 

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                Unica: The State of Marketing 2010 (link)

Users want to their experience to be customized:

  • Returning visitors to a web site want to see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits.  Businesses should present personalized sites to these customers by organizing information and prioritizing it based on the individual's liking.  Products and services offered on those pages will be pre-configured.
  • “Anonymous” visitors to websites should get customized messages based on the referring URL, search terms, geo-location and any other insights. 

In 2011, I expect business leaders to focus on advanced solutions that can delivering a more personalized experience to end users.  These solutions will be designed to mine the user profile, buying behavior, browsing behavior and other insights obtained through marketing analytics in order to deliver a more customized and personalized online experience.  Look for further improvements in technologies such as marketing analytics and predictive algorithms that can automatically deliver highly relevant, contextually aware, personalized content and recommendations to customers via both online and offline channels. I also expect the personalization trend to be extended beyond the website to other digital channels, including social media marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing.

One other point, the personalization trend is not only about presenting personalized pages to users of sales and marketing processes. All business application users can benefit from web sites and applications that present information that is personalized to the user. 

The rest of this post provides you with some background information on the trend, some quotes from the marketplace, and a bunch of links to additional reading information.

Trend Drivers

  • Individuals want content that is personalized and is relevant to why they are on a particular website at a given time /
  • New analytic capability

Trend Inhibitors/Challenges

  • Integrating offline as well as online behaviour
  • Need to build and retain complete profile data
  • Privacy issues

Trend Implications

  • New business processes and skills required
  • Need to track individual’s interactions and transactions across all channels, in order to provide the best offer or communication.
  • Messaging plans can be tailored to interests and preferences of each individual.

Quotes from the Marketplace: 

“Emerging context-enriched services will use location, presence, social attributes and other environmental information to anticipate an end user's immediate needs, offering more-sophisticated, situation-aware and usable functions” – Gartner (link)

“Marketers are focused on making their communications more timely and relevant to recipients. To do that, they need to build communications around the interests and preferences of each individual customer or prospect. “ – Unica, Sept. 2010 (link)

“Personalized product recommendations are proven to consistently increase sales, conversion rates, average order value and customer retention“ – Coremetrics, Oct 2010 (link)

Featured Video

Personalising the Web Experience – Unica Video

For More Information

Here are some sites where you will find links to other learning resources like white papers, demos, customer briefs, and videos

More Information From ibm.com

A Primer on Advanced Business Analytics

The explosion of data that is taxing storage systems is also driving the requirement for advanced business analytics.  With all that data being created, collected and stored with our IT infrastructures, business leaders want the capability to be able to harvest insights that will help them make better decisions.  While information overload was once a barrier to good decision making, today’s technology and analytics expertise make it a real benefit.

Business leaders are yearning for deeper knowledge and insights on all aspects of their business and they know that the information they need is available within all the data flowing through the company IT systems.  The growth of social conversations and content across the many online channels is providing business leaders with a never ending stream of incoming data.  The challenge is to turn all that data into insights and then develop strategies/actions based on those insights. 

Advanced analytics solutions can help business leaders adopt a proactive versus reactive strategy, enabling them to predict future behaviors and events before they occur.   Insights generated can help business leaders optimize individual business decisions, processes and entire business models, as well as manage risk and fraud, with the goal of improving the development and delivery of products and services. Analytic applications are also being used to help marketing leaders understand customer buying preferences. Advanced analytics also involves new technologies to search unstructured content and other search enhancements.

As with any advanced technology, its not just the analytic tools themselves that are important, advanced analytics can require new processes and new skills. In fact, businesses will need help understanding how to insert analytics into all business processes. Every process also has the potential for the application of analytics to improve decisions or to selectively adjust the process itself to handle out of normal situations.

Determining the appropriate combination of analytical techniques and the different aspects of the process they can support, will become a critical domain skill for business process managers and developers across every organization.

Advanced Analytics encompasses more than just Business Intelligence. Business intelligence mainly provides us historical analysis, but also increasingly incorporates powerful ways of analyzing what has already happened. We can increase the scope of the information that is analyzed and we can reduce delays between the data creation and its analysis, but at heart this is a look backwards.

Advanced Analytics solutions help us look into the future, predicting what can or will happen. We don't want to only spot past patterns of suspicious activity that might indicate fraud had already occurred. Think of the additional value if we could look at an action as it is taking place, predict the results, spot the fraud that will ensue and be able to stop it before it materializes. What if we could predict the likely sales in a store from remaining inventory for various possible purchases at this moment, and offer inducements to a customer to pick the product right now that maximizes likely total revenue?

So it is not surprising that leading companies are interested in using Advanced Analytic solutions to give them a competitive advantage. In 2011, I expect to see increased interest in advanced analytic capabilities that can identify, analyze and describe patterns within all the information “noise”, giving business leaders important predictive insights they can use for making better decisions.  In 2011 look for advancements in streaming technologies, mathematical algorithms and predictive modeling as applied to business analytic solutions.

Quotes from the Marketplace

Analysts have forecasted that the business analytics market will continue to grow at a good pace over the next ten years.  Here are some quotes from the buzz in the marketplace around the analytics topic.

“IDC forecasts the business analytics market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.0% over the 2009-2014 forecast period with even greater growth expected over the next ten years.” – IDC (Link)

“Predictive analytics allows us to leverage unsolicited and unbiased customer feedback and strategically improve our business. We now can also monitor competitor and industry websites, including blogs and news feeds, and other publicly available textual information to maintain a current view and better understand how the public perceives our competition – Nino Ninov, vice president of strategic research and analysis at Rosetta Stone (link)

“Predictive analytics software allows us to uncover greater insight into our membership and identify areas of opportunity to increase our satisfaction levels. Increasing awareness of our products and services, and also creating new offerings that meet our members' changing needs and behaviors has lead to better service and member understanding, and more strategic decision making.“ – Alan Payne, manager of member research and development at Navy Federal Credit Union (link)

“Top-performing companies are three times more likely than lower performers to be sophisticated users of analytics, and are two times more likely to say that their analytics use is a competitive differentiator.“  – MIT Sloan Management Review (link)

“As the benefits of business analytics become better known, especially among executives, the demand for a wider range of solutions and services will create new opportunities and drive the market to new heights.” – IDC (Link)

“The new step is to provide simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, not simply information, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action. The new step looks into the future, predicting what can or will happen.” – Gartner (link)

“Success with business analytics requires more than the data and algorithms. It requires a company culture committed to using information for breakthrough ideas and operations.“ – IBM Website (link)

Drivers of this Trend:

  • Explosion of raw data
  • CIOs want to enable smarter decisions within the enterprise.
  • There is substantial value achieved by making smart data-driven decisions.
  • Continued advances in analytics algorithms, modeling, & capabilities
  • Increased need for integration and combination of data

Challenges as we Adopt Analyitics Solutions:

  • Dealing with complex metadata: Unstructured, semi Structured, usage patterns
  • Data comes from many different sources (web, search, video, mobile, and social conversations).
  • Security, performance, scalability
  • Analytic tools tend to be too complex, requiring specialized resources.

Implications

  • Analytics services need to be designed for business users.
  • Analytics need to be inserted into all business processes
  • Training may be required for business process managers and developers
  • The ability to pull value from data can lead to competitive differentiation.
  • How can business leaders swiftly put predictive models in action, so they deliver value rather than simply being an intellectual exercise?

For More Information