Digital Cream Notes: Real Time Marketing, ROI and Internal Support

I’ve had the pleasure today of attending the @econsultancy Digital Cream event. A roundtable huddle for the heads and directors of online, web and digital marketing.

After attending sessions on Content Strategy, Mobile APPs and Measuring ROI on Social Media  it was great to see some common themes, pain points and best practices coming through.

Social Media is just Media

It was comforting to be among those that have accepted social is here to stay and a big player in their online marketing mix. PR is no longer traditional vs. new media, the later now far to important to ignore. While we were all active in the space to varying degrees, what interested me the most were the various metrics measured as a result.

Tracking click thrus from tweets, posts and links was a given, and attributing to conversions something we were all trying to tie up. Get that full picture.

Other interesting metrics were the benefits outside of marketing – like the reduced call centre costs that forums, twitter messages and blog posts were giving. Or Q&A sites and review sites spreading the base of the sales funnel.

Providing insightful metrics was also key. Not just total fans or average clicks, but the propensity to by of those clients that like you in FaceBook, join your group or follow you.

Tailored content is king

Your website through Beta, Multivariate and implied preferences needs to fit the user. Some have totally different experiences for those returning for a quick buy vs. the first time client, who steps through storytelling to understand the brand and benefits of the service/product. Come in from google search, one look. Return to finalise that flight, and all the local tips are showing for that destination.

Some are taking Social Media monitoring to the next level and scrapping copy to speak the way their audience does. Imagine – a website for your clients 🙂 And maybe even some of their content piped in, their reviews, both positive and negative!!!

Cultural Change for Realtime marketing and PR

While we’re rolling out our Digital Marketing strategy it seems that half the battle to winning the client over is having the internal mechanisms in place to deal with this change. We will have open, honest fast moving conversations with out clients. And having the PR, Social Media and Sales teams co-ordinated to do this is paramount.

While we “run this by legal” the clock is ticking.

Old school – we could take a week, come back with a preferred statement, or wait for the crisis to blow over.

New school – if we haven’t resolved it in a day, or maybe an hour in some industries, we’ve lost the sale, lost an evangelist or tarnished the brand permanently.

Reactions to this ranged from cutting back the hierarchies and everything being pumped through the central hub, to (the more sustainable in my mind) full blown university in Social Media – with training part of KPIs.

Glocal Content and Responsibility

It seems apparent that the true leaders will be those that have a centre of learning to teach decentralised content hubs. Employees will be empowered to act as brand champions. Trusted, no, expected to do so.

A learning library within the company, combined with attributable actionable analytics, will mean – our web presence won’t be a microfiche of every piece of content that “just had to go up”, but will be something employees are proud of.

My efforts, tweet, comment and that thought piece drove X dollars to our bottom line!!


Filter out the noise on Twitter

Old Television

Think back to the first time Infomercials came out on TV, I’m sure they were really successful to start and grabbed our interest. The wise cottoned on quick and switched the channel.
The same will happen with Twitter.

Sadly there’s still weight in the phrase “but wait there’s more” – and I also lament that many will follow @charliesheen to see what he’s touting. Maybe even buy his affiliates’ products. Heck, I took a glimpse, as I like some of his work, but I’m not into following actors or bands. Just not my thing.

I’ll be watching my own channels of leaders and other quality tweeters! Skipping the Ads and anything irrelivant. Glancing up at my favorite TV shows between the evenings RRS reader and Twitter reviews.

As people get through their first few tweets and start to understand things, they realise there’s “a lot of noise” on twitter and that’s what lists, search filters, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are for.

Handy tips:

Set up a saved search for your favourite topics, a couple of my current ones are

And list up those important to you. Like my leaders and in real life lists.

Set these as screens in Tweetdeck or HootSuite – and use them across your: iStuff (iPad, iPod, iPhone), desktop, laptop and Androids. Both have APPs for all major mobiles and the iPad.

How do you guys filter the noise?

Image by Beige Alert

Tip: Social Media RSS feeds

Here’s a list of Social Media RSS feeds. Good for backing data up, displaying on your blog, and also if you want one window or dashboard to see everything happening in one place.

For those unfamiliar with RRS or readers, read this and set yourself up with Google Reader.

Note: substitute “nickwallen” for your user name in these examples.


Here are the various feed URLs:


Ahh gotcha, I do have a few private checkins so won’t share my details. Here’s where to find your RSS feed if you were thinking of backing it up.


Here’s the instructions:


Here’s the instructions:


RSS at the bottom of your photo stream page:

Subscribe to nickwallen’s photostream – Latest


Sadly my feed is empty:


Some simple blog rss urls too!






With the number of custom templates on all blogs now, most will have custom RSS links right on the page. The best I’ve seen for tracking is

Reporting ROI in web marketing

A little back, I wrote about focusing on your website as a hub. Rightly so @iconic88 pointed out that it ain’t just about a good website and content hub. There’s plenty of other spaces and places that clients interact with you online. We understand that social media, transparency and engaging with clients in their space is key.

It you’re lucky, your C-Suite get this too. But what does this mean to them in dollars and sense/cents.

Once you’ve cracked that hub and head out to engage with clients and prospects on their grounds – via social media and careful, creative advertising – you need to really understand the return on the time, effort and dollars you spend. Having an encompassing view of what your getting back will help you explain to your boss why you keep “playing on FaceBook all day”. Many fortune 500 companies still block the major social media sites, so its not surprising that the budget for head count and tools to work this arena is still minimal.

Many are finding the rush is on. Social Media joins PPC, SEO, Display and APPs. There’s so many ways to easily eat up an online marketing budget, yet little focus on creating a learning, measuring library. Somewhere to record the results from all these traffic sources and learn.

Dashboard views from the myriad of analytics providers can give you vital statistics on what’s keeping your website alive. But what about bundling that into actionable parcels for those that don’t talk long tails and CPC all day long? We are building a web presence and interacting to constantly engage with our clients, but what if we could break these interactions into micro campaigns? Then report back in bursts.

Micro Campaign parts

  • Multivariate emails go out with different subjects and two content options
  • Pointing to two articles online – server security and office security
  • Timed tweets from the corporate and sales teams accounts, three content options, 2 #hastags
  •  Display ads – three sites, four options
  • Facebook page posts
  • Linked in group posts
  • Likes on FaceBook

A realtime view of the results is available for everyone. The Twitter page would look a little something like this.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

With each stat allowing drill down to displaying the cross linkages between the various facets of the campaign.

Hover on each metric, compare to your last campaign, or compare to industry average. And the statistics are tied to each article, so a thumbnail view campaign archive, lets you browse the most successful campaigns.

Now that you’re successfully collecting all this data, tie it to a user profile and pipe it to your CRM. Let your sales team have real-time insights too!

But Why Can’t My Website Be A Brochure?

Or, how your website should be “The Amazing Hub of Your B2B Digital Marketing!
In the current age of online marketing, it is vital that any B2B company has a compelling web presence, highlighting with ease, the depth and breadth of their expertise. Any competitive firm, with a little “marketing” effort can produce sales talk as to the detailed specifics of their service lines, and harp on about how technically skilled they are to meet their clients needs. Lesser companies, are often tempted into in depth service descriptions, in case a potential client, thinks they’re not capable of what they see their peers working on. Far better are engaging stories or case studies highlighting those capabilities! Search #storytelling on Twitter!

In web2.0 – the truly successful companies will be those that can express their opinions, become thought leaders and be acknowledged by their peers. In web talk: loads of visits, retweets, mentions, quotes and links back to the content.

To do this, websites should be easy to navigate, tagged and indexed in a format that regardless of the term that a client types into google, they are in the results they’re after. Your web presence becomes the most effective tool for finding thought leadership, that clients, experts and employees can share with the world. Articles come in easy to share formats. HTML pages, videos, podcast and interactive presentations that can be viewed on a mobile or desktop. Large publications are segmented into more frequent topical updates on issues that matter the most to clients.

User driven topics, drive the shape of the website, and service or product descriptions become short asides to a stream of content, case studies, webinars and scheduled events, laid out in an easy to digest format. The website becomes less brochure, and more online newspaper in both look and feel. Suggested reading both, from the company’s perspective and based on the users browsing history, are offered at the end of each article. The experience is custom, shooing you know what your client is about.

EVERY page has a high value conversion goal. Be that the ultimate, contact us or more involving, subscribe to updates on this topic, or attend the next webinar or event. Communications become PULL based, with these subscriptions to topics. As the client or user, subscribes themselves to specific issues or topics they are interested in. Eliminating the threat of “spamming” clients.

The website, should be as topical as possible. Responsive to clients needs and comments, engaging with them via forums and comments areas. Addressing the various types of buyers involved in a B2B purchase, is an avenue to be explored, so long as in doing so, no mass group of potential clients is alienated. So for larger legislative updates or full product or software descriptions, a C-Suite summary should be included. Managers may be decision makers in the buying process, but let’s give them a deck they can take to “leadership”.

The online marketing team develop a hub, but the role of each consultant, salesperson and employee will be the dissemination and amplification of content posted in this hub. LinkedIn status updates mentioning the latest article you wrote, Twitter posts, Facebook likes, and mentioning in your blog or online presence, will shortly be a given. It’s already so in many sectors.

I may be slightly web centric, but any cold call I have results in google search for that company. If I cannot find mention of their so called thought leader, or cutting edge service, the call is ended.

The Back End

To approach real time marketing, learn, and adapt your web presence to suit.

A WCMS or web content management tool, that allows decentralized, easy to use content creation is a must. Press releases, web pages, and event invites, should all be created by those closest to the market. Web specialists, should be advising on methods and techniques for reaching the required conversion goal. Helping with syndication and the spreading of the content online once posted. Ensuring it is optimised for search, and that you’re paying for ads in the right places to drive qualified traffic to this content.

Once created, click thrus, views, and comparative analysis should be easily available for content creators to learn and improve their online marketing. Creating a database of best practice case studies…

Wow, that would be nice!

Quest for Seamless Collaboration – Enterprise 2.0

Struck by an Oatmeal Cartoon this week on what not to do with emails, I thought I’d post my dream work based collaboration scenario. 
Being in online marketing, I’ll focus this around simple content creation and posting to the web. Now that I’ve written it, this seems like a simple task. And perhaps the rest of this post is overkill but here’s the steps I would love to see technology help me with. 

It’d be shaped a little like this:
  1. You’d open up a new document to collaborate on in a central web based platform. 
  2. Select a type of end document that you’re aiming to create – A collection of case studies for our UK site on Social ROI
  3. This choice offers up a number of pre-set values and has a DUPLICATE LAST button, cause I do this every day! The wizard begins:
    1. Draft name
    2. Launch date _5 days time 
    3. Hard date – Yes/No
    4. Priority – low/med/high
    5. Legal need to review this – Yes/No
    6. Peer review – Yes/No
    7. The project is for – (select cost center) 
    8. Collaborators are – (colleague x, y) – its predictive based off the global org chart – and has a “usual crew” button
    9. From a central taxonomy – enter tags and keywords to describe this job. [Marketing, Case Studies, Nokia, Apple, Social ROI, Social Media, UK]
    10. It creates a unique ID and the record begins

From here the collaboration tool helps you with your document creation and behind the scenes. As a next phase, it recommends help in two ways.


Possibly related documents
From the tags supplied, the wizard provides
  • A list of marketing materials your organisation has created in the past on topics and related topics, you can add them for collaborators to view. Request use, or just add to the case studies. Those that are already on the website, have rankings out of 10 for visitors, and conversions.     
  • Templates are offered, appropriate to the content. 
  • Related imagery, stored in high res is offered in order of license, then relevance, and by least used. 
  • Anything you review, has a linkage recorded. Anything you ultimately use in entirety, is hard linked. 
Possible collaborators
Scouring your ultra fancy Active Directory come internal profiles store, and micro-blogging tool – the wizard recommends additional collaborators with snippets for reference:
  • John, {Consultant} is …lead consultant with one of the clients mentioned.
  • Paul, {Marketing Executive} is currently creating Asia Pacific case studies on the value of Social Media. 
  • Ringo, {Boilermaker} used to work for FaceBook Analytics
  • George, {Lawyer} has experience with Social Media Governance

Behind the scenes

For “cost synergies”, a number of connections are made to various facets of the company.
  • Once the record is created, and the due date set, an alert is sent to all involved, that its in the pipeline.
  • As a phase is completed, the document is passed on to the next associate.
  • Your time is allocated as you work on these documents.
  • The launch date is set in the content stream and logged in marketing calendars, in case something else is due to launch that day. 
  • The project sponsor is alerted, and asked to give a simple final review of the job – (maintains constant feedback stream for appraisals) 
Dashboard and alerts
To round this out and provide the seamless collaboration.
  • Associates have a customisable dashboard from which you can pipe an RSS feed of all widgets, or set custom Daily, weekly or task based email alerts. 
  • So I’m imagining co-collaborators see 3 or 4 documents, and the days until launch for all. They also see their personal work-flow, and can prioritise accordingly. 
  • They can set reminders for themselves, arrange review meetings, but never have status updates, as they KNOW where the doc is at. 
  • Manager can see what there team are focusing on, and allocate time off accordingly, hire in temps, and analyse performance.
  • As managers have information at their fingertips and are freed up from administration, they can focus on coaching and being mentors.  
Cherry on the top
Oh, and I forgot to mention the final document, is stored with its original taxonomy and tags as an XML based file. Ripe for converting into web content, piping to your iPad or web app, or feeding into a PDF template for printing. 
NOT, an 80MB email, with low res bitmap image attached, fax copied and scanned to PDF. With illegible scribble from three others who haven’t seen >  case-studies-for-UK-web-NA-draft-final-final-2-amended-V.80_JL2.doc   


Twitter and GroupTweet

Something I’m exploring at the moment is the idea of coordinating colleagues to amplify messages to their twitter followers.

DM seeding posts to colleagues and CC ing within tweets, works well. I’ve also come across GroupTweet, which seems to be a good option for sharing tweet ideas to a closed group. Was painless to set up, and has some good options.

I know this seems a little anti the ethos of twitter and sharing what you feel has value. Yet if a group has the same opinions, but can’t keep up with who said what, this may help.

To set it up you:

  1. Grab a new twitter account PLEASE don’t use your own account as it has to be set to private.
  2. Set it private before the spam bots follow you
  3. In Group Tweet, select that twitter handle.
  4. Choose a prefix for all DM messages it receives
  5. Give it a test.

So once set up, any DM to that account becomes a tweet, with your chosen prefix.

I send a DM:

DM @groupaccountforsharing “hi, here’s a test tweet”



and that DM gets converted to a tweet in the @groupaccountforsharing account


“via @nickwallen “hi, here’s a test tweet”

I think its a great way to share more personal tweets, like “Dan grab me a coffee” or “lets all get behind X presenting at Y tomorrow night”. Things that you want to say to a select group, but not to everyone on twitter. And things you don’t want to have to DM everyone individually about. Keeping it in twitter saves the effort too of hafting to go out to emails or look for email distribution lists etc.

As you get more advanced, you could send options for RTs to those subscribed to the locked account. So they’d see this tweet, and choose a hashtag and title they like.

“via @nickwallen Post: Twitter and GroupTweet [URL] #twitter OR Post: GroupTweet, just great [URL] #socialmedia

Have you guys used anything like this and for what?

B2B Events – Leveraging Web2.0 & Social Media

I was thinking about how best to leverage events in the current web 2.0 world.

Gone are the days of cold mass emails, faxes or letters to hundreds of potential attendees to fill a small room.

Working in a B2B I thought I’d lay out my ideal event – lapping up all the web has to offer, rather than taking people away from the world for a day or two of isolated thought.

Pre event

Well in advance and as part of the annual marketing plan, events are laid out, or scope is set for rapid response forums on topical revelations in the market. A plan is set to build hype around the event and create that must attend appeal.

For set date events:

  • Hash-tags are set in place at the same time as the email inbox is set up for communications and registrations
  • Keynote speakers are tweeting about their topic and forwarding out relevant reading material
  • A LinkedIn group or subgroup is established and is prominent, beside the hash-tag in all communications about the event (emails, DM, and company website)
  • A LinkedIn Event Listing is also created, and mentioned in the group.
  • keynote speakers and key consultants post questions to LinkedIn and solicit topics for “roundtable” or “expert panel”

At event

  • Attendees are encouraged to use event hash-tag for providing feedback, queries and to pose questions
  • Potentially, a “waterfall screen” in the break area, could be used to reach non-tweeters
  • An email address is also set up for more private concerns and both are monitored by staff at the event

Post event

  • Comments and queries are collated and aggregated to clients
  • Attendees are encouraged to continue on the Linked In group and consultants join, following up on materials
  • New thoughts and ideas are posed to the Linked In group members with the ultimate aim of forming a network for collaboration and product/service development
  • Follow up communications enforce the LinkedIn group and the continuing communication leveraged to promote the next event

Has anyone leveraged these two? Any great Case studies you’d like to share?

LinkedIn Groups vs. In House Forums

OR, “Why I’m bullish on LinkedIn”

LinkedIn welcomes you - Palo Alto office entrance
via – jerryluk

LinkedIn, well beyond an online cv storer, is the leading business networking website globally. No news there, and it’s peripheral services for building both a personal brand and to amplify your company brand are impressive.

Keeping up with their latest releases and to leverage them is an ongoing distraction. Forums and supportive technology for posting articles is well developed and will continue to develop, for LinkedIn Groups – one of their first release features.

One place I can see great future revenue for them is linkedin logins for member sites on B2B websites and company websites. Thus allowing professionals to keep one set of online info up to date. Hafting to re-enter this and maintain it separately is often annoying, and for may impossible to keep track of.
More about that here: linkedin-oauth

This does mean marketers will be tempted to start out on their own client forums in house, leveraging LinkedIn data, and collecting their own.


My main qualm with in-house forums is that it forces the client into another login, and another place to visit for web interactions.

Fish Where The Fish Are

It’s Sales and Marketing 101, that when there’s a source of members, technology, and a medium to promote you forum to a new user every second (latest stats), why would you hide your forum out of reach?

Sure, but what if it’s an ultra elite group, that you’ll never open to the public I hear you say.
Then does it warrant the huge IT commitment to keep that forum at a level of style and sophistication your CSUITE clients expect? Can you keep up with the developers at LinkedIn, do you also want to own that security risk?

And comparative analytics would be difficult. How do stats on users in my in-house forum compare, demographics, usage etc. This is something else a locked away community has difficulties with. Let alone it’s ability to re-purposed this data, or it’s value for reselling, one of FaceBook’s biggest future revenue streams.

A possible sore point is linking to sensitive docs and project calendars, something that needs to be addressed, possibly via linkedin-oauth?

What are your thoughts, does anyone have a great B2B forum running in their website or members area?