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Marketers Need To Quarterback (or own) Their Technology Decisions

Over the last year, the role of a marketing team within a company, particularly the CMO, has evolved drastically. Being able to market in its most traditional sense is no longer they key: businesses expect marketers to become digital and technology leaders. The marketing department now consists of technology builders, who have to create new channels (websites, mobile apps, facebook apps, etc), implement new tracking systems (marketing automation, CRMs, mobile analytics), and integrate these into their customers’ experiences. More importantly, they have to quantify each step of the marketing funnel.

As Gardner Research often points out “Technology is the heart of Marketing, and CMOs will outspend their company’s CIO by 2017.” This new responsibility requires looking at their job through a different prism. They need to conduct business in a completely different manner because now, it’s vital to the success of their business. CMO’s now have to:

  • Find the right technology provider whose nimble

  • Ensure they can easily fire your technology provider just as they would do with with their ad agency

  • Build in performance goals for the technology provider

  • Rely on the CIO to drive the technology purchasing decision

  • Make key decisions by extensively kicking the tires of these technologies. (Note: To this day, it still surprises how many technology providers do not have sandboxes or a demo product for CMOs to properly evaluate their products.)

As a result Marketing will have to quarterback the technology acquisition and licensing process for their companies. To accomplish this, they will need to:

  • Sync up with the company’s business goals

  • Prioritize and identify the critical few projects

  • Facilitate projects and communications between marketing and IT

  • Prioritize funding for marketing technologies

  • Select, evaluate and choose technology providers

  • Define success for these providers (hold them accountable)

  • Design and implement technology keeping digital business models in mind

  • Plan ongoing reviews of technology provider and your goals

  • Push your technology provider to continue to ameliorate their technology

According to IBM’s CMO study, however, there are many barriers to adopting technology. See below:

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None of these, however, focus on being able to leverage technology to improve the overall customer experience or extract actionable data. Marketers need to carefully consider how implementing a new marketing system impacts people visiting their site. This needs to be carefully looked at by capturing VOC (Voice of the Customer and looking closely at data.

I am surprised, however, how many still don’t focus on lifetime value or retention. As eMarketer shows below, there tends to be a focus on one time activities (campaign tracking) and brand analysis (which does focus on their customers behaviors and competitive intelligence.

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Understanding your customers data is the fuel of your marketing organizations. Since marketing is now a key for major technology buyers, CMOs need to know how to evaluate, implement and leverage new systems. All parts of marketing is impacted by technology.

To prepare for their new role, CMOs then need to

  • Be able to quantify each step of the funnel which means they need to have the technology to accomplish this.

  • Identify or hire individual who has the technology background in Marketing Automation, CRM, and Web Analytics. In many cases, you don’t even need to have a Marketing Technology officer as some companies are beginning to do. As a result, a new job title has come on the scene – “Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO). Within large companies — more than $500 million in annual revenue — 81% of them now have a chief marketing technologist role, up from 71% just a year ago. Another 8% expect to add that role within the next 24 months. However, smaller companies might not be able to afford to pay for an additional Marketing chief.

  • Have this person map out your technology and challenge them to figure out how the many pieces of the many technology puzzle fit together (no solution will solve all your problems) — how your marketing automation system fits with your CRM system, for example)

  • Be committed to a just-in-time agile approach (they can learn from their engineers meet Agile Development process and apply it  marketing)

  • Map out the process too before buying the technology (but be flexible)

  • Embrace technology — pick a few technologies to learn. Yes, I think CMOs need to understand how some of these products work.

Marketers need to understand that any change in a company’s infrastructure can impact the overall customer experience. They need to embrace technology vs. fear it. They can no longer say ‘it’s too technical to understand.’ As Phil Fernandez, Marketo’s CEO said, “The days of ownership are being replaced with the days of partnership.”

In the modern, connected, mobile environment, companies need to connect with customers with personalized and differentiated services. So called “stickiness” is essential and CMOs should be better equipped to meet those demands, regardless of whether or not they have the same level of technical knowledge as the CIO

Despite all of the above, CMO’s should not be lead by technology and should remember that it is just an enabler. Instead, marketing leaders should:

  • Map out the ecosystem of everyone who impacts your product

  • Focus on a few target audiences at first (prospects, customers, partners)

  • Map out each of their customer journeys (online and offline)

  • Identify their water holes and where they spend their time

  • Understand how they speak about their work, your product, etc.

  • Understand the jobs/tasks they get paid to do

  • Map out potential experiences in the funnel

  • Determine the right technology to collect data at those key touch points

Much of the change in the CMO’s role is due to customers’ every increasing influencer. More and more conferences, articles, etc. will focus on this. For example, next month, the Incite Conference in San Francisco will focus on the CMO’s evolving role. There need to be more detailed blueprints for Marketers to follow. Hopefully, this post provides some guidance.

This will be the first of a series of posts that look at CMO’s evolving role in companies, especially as the move from ‘run and gun’ campaign approach to building longer-term customer relationships. My next article will discredit the myth that the marketing funnel is dead.

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10 Reasons to Build a G+ Community

Google+ had a big 2013. With over 1 billion registered users and 340 million active users, it is steadily gaining ground on Facebook. Part of its success is the result of  the rapid adoption of Google+ Communities, which resemble instantly creatable, lightweight discussion forums and are full of prospects and potential followers.Google-Plus-is-here-to-stay-and-marketers-are-missing-out-on-major-engagement-opportunities-if-they-arent-using-it.-299x300

Here are 10 reasons why you should use and build your own Google+ Communities:

  1. Embrace User Created Content: Google+ Communities allow you to leverage a platform where your strategic partners and customers can share best practices, answer each other’s questions and share valuable information. In essence, you are creating a place where your stakeholders can interact with each other. For example, National Geographic is one of the most memorable and traditional brands that has a thriving Community. It is called Exploration, not National Geographic, and is dedicated to an open “community of people who share a joyful sense of adventure, a passion for exploration and discovery, a love of learning, and a desire to make a difference.”

  2. Understand the mindset of your customers: By mining your Community’s content, you will gain a better understanding for how people talk about your company and its products. Their phrases and words can be incorporated into your marketing communications, your SEO, etc. I remember when I presented to Scott Cook, the Founder of Intuit. He would always say “don’t tell me the numbers, share the verbatim”. In other words, he wanted to know what were people saying and how they said it.

  3. Drink Google Juice: According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. By leveraging what you learn from Google+ Communities, you can determine the general sentiment of users on certain topics and identify keywords that can be used to have a positive impact on your SEO efforts. Google reportedly also favors Google+ content in search. With the number one search engine behind it, your Google+ business page and content will be indexed effectively. This alone makes quite the case for marketers looking for new brand visibility outlets.

  4. Let the people speak for you: By letting your customers and business partners speak about and show their appreciation of your products with +1s and clicks, your brand will gain credibility. Google reports that ads using Google+ get about 5% more clicks because the addition of +1 button. This adds credibility to your brand because people trust recommendations from people they know. indicates a sign that the ad is trustworthy.” Authorship certifies a certain credibility that sets Google+ apart as well.

  5. Establish Thought Leadership in the Industry: By having an open forum where people can express their opinions and share their experiences, you can become known for more than your product features or your brand name and logo.  Your brand will be associated with thought leadership within a certain category. It will become a trusted voice within your industry.

  6. Flexibility to create Private or Public Community: By setting up a private Community for your most avid customers and Power Users, you can create a VIP community of sorts. You can even have both a public and a private community and use the latter to demonstrate that ‘membership has it’s privileges.’ You can give your All-Stars direct access to employees, special content and unique offers. Several of my clients have a public community and a private community for their power users and AllStars. In a private community, they can be like the United Nations in a closed assembly, planning and voting on the future direction of their open Communities.

  7. Generate leads: By implementing what I call implicit marketing tactics—link users to useful information on your site vs. highlighting a new product—you can drive traffic to a landing page and then launch visitors into your regular lead-generation process. Think of your Google+ Community as the top of the marketing funnel.

  8. Enables you to segment content: By building out categories and using hashtags, you can filter your content and thus improve the discoverability of content. Users can just select the content they want much more quickly.

  9. Launch an event: By leveraging Google+ Hangouts technology, you can broadcast (one broadcaster to many viewers) or conduct small town halls (many to many, up to 10 people at a time). From Google +, you can schedule events, send out updates, and provide guests and manage updates. Hangouts are increasingly becoming a valued asset in communities.

  10. Ring around the Circles: By leveraging the Circles functionality, you can extend your network and segment and send customized messages to different groups of users. Once you have, you can then invite these segments into relevant communities. It is also a way for you track different types of content. For example, every morning, I check two circles I created: One for Small Business Influencers and one for Google+ Communities managed by Google employees.

Over time, Google will increasingly integrate it’s Google+ platform with the company’s other products and services. Today, Youtube and Photos work nicely with Google+, making the social network more dynamic, engaging and attractive for users. Tomorrow, we will see even more ways to build Google+ Communities into Google’s offerings. Therefore, if you want to be ahead of the curve, you need to jump on the Google+ Community bandwagon now.

Article was originally published on Hootsuite.com

Be like Disney

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Recently, one of my favorite clients told me they wanted his community to be like Disney. What did he mean by Community? Today, this tends to be reference for a branded, company managed online community or a Facebook Page or a G+ Page. I like to extend the definition a bit to other online gatherings, such as all the ‘reviews’ about an Amazon book or an offline engagement, such as a MeetUp.

Since I really respect this person, I took his request on as a personal challenge to figure out what this meant and what it would take to accomplish it. Originally, his creativity kicked in and he had some great ideas for center stage. However, Disney creates the magic because it not only focuses on the Center Stage, but also on the Back Stage. Great ideas come to life on center stage but it all depends on the operations that happen behind the scenes.

disneybackstage

According to the Disney Institute, there are four key areas Backstage:

  • Guestology (which I call SMBography), which means that every employee (who touches a partner or a customer) should know and understand what that customer wants. One way to do this is to have employees active on in our online communities and social networks. To do this, you also need to treat each social network as a listening outpost so that you can better understand your ‘guests’ (members). Actions and decisions should also be data-driven so that you are not aiming in the dark. We should be prepared to invest in a pair of Big Ears, in the form of tools, resources, manpower.
  • Quality, which means we white glove (like Mickey Mouse) everything. This requires training our employees, our call center folks, and anyone who interacts with a user to go the extra mile and provide an unforettable experience. You need a road map of enhancements that consists of all touch-points, from the service desk to the boardroom, from your ecommerce store to the your customer service team.
  • Delivery, which means that your platforms, people and processes need to run efficiently. Decisions need to be data driven and constantly benchmarked against your previous results and your competitors track record.
  • Integration, which means that you need to take a more holistic approach in how you manage customer service, community, and commerce. You need to map out the Customer Journey and your Guests interactions — Map out while individuals from different parts of the company are in one room with laptops and cell phones off.

For more about these topics, read Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni

For most companies, implementing the above requires a significant cultural change. However, it is necessary if you want to be successful in the digital and social world. It’s important to make sure your backstage operations are a well-oiled and managed machine. Otherwise, your inefficiencies will be apparent on center stage.

Implementing these changes is also crucial to be able to compete competitively. As more and more

companies perfect “the art of customer service”, users will not only expect quality from you but demand it. In the long term, these practice will be required to make your business sustainable.

If you have chance to visit Disney — online or at a theme park., take a moment to notice the little things that make the experience what it is. That magic doesn’t just happen. It’s built, cultivated, and perfected.

Employee Engagement: What’s the ROI

Clock is ticking for Small Businesses to leverage Social Media. Can they speed up time.

Clock is ticking for Small Businesses to leverage Social Media.
Can they speed up time.

A few years ago, I was called into my supervisor’s office because of her “concern” about my commitment to the company. When I asked what triggered this concern, she said I did not have any “pictures of my family or plants” in my cubical. Instead of telling her that she was looking at me an old-school corporate  lens different than her own (my last two years at Intuit, I worked out of a locker and didn’t even have an office), I uploaded some pictures of people from Google Images and put them on my iPad, which I displayed by my desk. Ironically, that seemed to do the trick.

When it comes to engaging employees, the biggest ROI is to think of your staff just like you would a customer: seek to understand their interests, their rituals, and their ways of communicating as well as how they want to be treated.

Your employees are key stakeholders in your company’s success. Several studies show that an engaged and happy worker can reduce a company’s overall health insurance costs and take less vacation time (not sure that’s a good thing). There’s an even more important impact, though. As a recent Tempkin Employee Engagement Study showed, high employee engagement impacts the bottom line:

  • Companies with strong financial results report employees to be engaged 75% of the time —compared to organizations with weak financial results, which report an employee engagement rate of 47%.
  • Engaged employees are more than twice as likely to go the “extra mile” at work. These folks stay late, collaborate with colleagues, and recommend organizational improvements.
  • 96% of engaged employees responded that they “always or almost always” try their hardest on the job (while 79% of non-engaged workers responded similarly).
  • 75% of employees at companies who report better-than-average customer experience levels are highly or moderately engaged, while only 34% of employees in companies with lesser customer experience levels are highly or moderately engaged.

Last year, I was hired by a major software company to help them use social media in their recruitment of college graduates. Like a good consultant, I convinced the company to expand its focus and concentrate on understanding their potential employees as a unique tribe (audience) and to reconsider how the company treated them. I pointed out that even if we did great job-recruiting candidates, the biggest challenge is engaging them in their work (a Gallup poll reports that 70% of first year employees do not feel invested/engaged at work).

Based on my recommendation, the company realized that to achieve a higher level of employee engagement, it needed to think of its staff as a human beings or ‘tribes’ of humans, who have specific and diverse needs, desires, and wants.  The company understood that employee engagement starts during the recruiting process, continues through training, on board, and even after the employee leaves the company. Yes, there is even a possible ‘reincarnation’ phase when an employee returns for a second tour of duty. Schwab calls these “Boomerangers.”

Besides looking at the employee through a realistic life cycle lens, there are several factors that improve employee engagement, a few of which I learned during my tenure at Intuit:

  • Create a Learning Environment. Today, when older employees have to reinvent themselves and learn new skills and younger employees have a desire to absorb information and learn new technology, it’s important to give employees the room to do this. Intuit had a great approach called “Learn-Teach-Learn.” It was a modified version of Noel Tichy’s virtuous teaching cycle. While Tichy and others focus on management playing this role, Intuit was able to bring this philosophy to the front line workers, meeting one of the key needs of its employees.
  • Believe in Voice of the Employee: After working with more than 10 Fortune 1000 companies in the last two years, it’s clear that very few of them allow their employees to have a voice at the table. Although corporate business decision-making is not always a democratic process, it’s important to let every group be heard, otherwise, you could find yourself in the middle of an Arab Spring. (OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration : )
  • Create a creative environment: Employees from any department at Intuit, for example, could sign up for ad-hoc problem-solving pow-wows called “Idea Jams” that lasted a couple of hours. This “unstructured time” ultimately proved productive, enabling workers to apply their brainpower to any challenge that interests them.
  • Reward does always require money : While everyone loves to make an extra buck, sometimes symbols and rituals can go a long way. Intuit created custom imprinted poker chips that were small, easy to carry, and colorful, with each one highlighting one of its 10 company “core values.” When employees witnessed a co-worker living an intuit core value, they awarded them a poker chip. According to Brand Alliance , employee engagement scores increased 10% after their introduction.
  • Identify their personal goals. First time employees on my teams are always shocked when I ask them: “What are your career goals, and what skills sets do you want to learn for a future job at our company or somewhere else?” Google attempts this with their 20% time, but I try to get the employee to be more specific about what skill sets they want to acquire.
  • Allow Social Media participation. Years ago, I presented a How-To-Blog workshop at Dell to a large group of employees. Afterwards, the VP of Marketing stood up and reminded everyone that they could blog “only if corporate reviewed their content first.” When I heard that I felt sorry for Dell’s staff, especially because I came from a corporate culture that encouraged employees to participate in social networks. It is important to trust your employees (after all, why did you hire them in the first place?) and to know that whether you like it or not, they, like everyone else, are social media ambassadors for the company. For better or worse, many people spend a great part of their day expressing their views on social networks. So instead of constraining them, provide guidelines, guardrails, and guidance so they know the implications of posting online.

High employee engagement scores will reduce the potential employees’ misbehavior in social networks. After all, you don’t want your staff bad mouthing you on Facebook or Twitter. Imagine how a happy and engaged employee might represent the company on social networks. At Intuit, we provided an opt-in training program for employees that focused on how to participate in the latest and greatest social network as well as information on the legal and privacy implications of their online activities.

I hope old-school managers, like the one I referred into the first paragraph, reads this blog post, and realizes they need to wake up to the needs of today’s employee.

Future of Work Interview: Robert Brownstone, Technology, eDiscovery and Computer Forensics, Fenwick and West LLP

This interview was written up while drinking a Soy Latte at the Swank Bar in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood.

A “Make Your Own Major” Type of Job

For the last 18 months, I have become interested in the emerging fields of Digital Risk, Crisis Management and Cyber Security. So, I decided to reach out to Robert Brownstone (@ediscoveryguru) from Fenwick and West, LLP. I know Robert from when I sought his advice on the Internet and the Law. Normally, we share stories and exchange ideas while eating Chinese food on Castro Street in downtown, Mountain View.  Our meetings remind me of George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld, engaged in this intense conversations at Monk’s Cafe. Today, however, I telephoned him from the Human 1.0 office in Cambridge, MA, where there is only one restaurant (Italian, not Chinese) within walking distance.

Brownstone started his career on Wall Street as a white-collar crime litigator in fraud cases. He then became law school professor and program director while working as a part-time lawyer. For the last thirteen years, Brownstone has been working out of Fenwick’s Silicon Valley office where he has his hand on the pulse of legal and technical issues impacting, some which impact of the most innovative companies in America.

Bill Fenwick, the firm’s founder, originally hired Brownstone as his “experiment” and gave him the title Knowledge Manager.  He wanted to take a law teacher and litigator, and as Brownstone describes it, “pump my head with as much computer knowledge as possible in hopes that I would continue to spark some new developments and opportunities for the firm.” Fenwick asked Brownstone to focus on electronic discovery, IT, Data Security, and Legal issues with the intention of sharing these learnings in two ways: “in house” with Fenwick attorneys and “out-house” (really called “outsiders”) with Fenwick clients.

Brownstone characterizes his role at Fenwick as a “make your own major type of job,” where he has often finds himself immersed in issues such as intellectual property, the protection of trade secrets, data security strategies, and employer-employee disputes over data. To make all this new information useful, he says, “the secret sauce is understanding  (our) clients’ business and how their internal information systems work.”

Digital Law: Riding the River

In representing many high-tech and life science companies, Brownstone has found that his main challenge is in the area of Digital Law, which is in flux right now with the Courts wrestling with some major issues, such as:

  • How to protect data secrets and information and what to do when their use is in dispute
  • How to handle electronic information over a lifetime –from creation to usage to destruction
  • How to handle electronic information issues when a company gets sued or when there’s an electronic discovery (e-discovery) request 

Clog That Drain: Prevent Data Leakage and Cut Your Losses 

According to Brownstone, there are essentially three ways information can leak from a company:

  1. An employee or some other insider is intentionally trying to harm the company and puts information in front of the public (sometimes via the Internet). The most highly publicized examples would be from the Wikileaks site. Basically, someone is trying to harm an organization through disclosure or an accusation.
  2. An intentional disclosure becomes unintentionally harmful.  An employee, executive, or other insider posts something (i.e. a photo or a tweet) but he or she does not know the FTC prohibits specific kinds of disclosures under certain circumstances. [Having managed online communities and social networks since my AOL days in the mid-1990s, I would say this happens at lease once or twice a year for many companies.]
  3. An unintentional disclosure. Confidential Information gets out via a smart phone, laptop, device, or paper when the item is stolen, hacked or lost. There is no malice or intent on the part of the employee or client, but the information still gets leaked.

Even if the law does not require it, companies can reduce their risk and exposure when it comes to data leakage. Two ways to reduce a company’s risk exposure are:

  1. Role-Based Access Control or what IT folks call RBAC, which essentially means that not everything within the virtual or physical world is open to everyone in the company. For example, different permissions granted to folks who need to access databases, etc. Brownstone calls this approach “narrowing the risk of leakage.”
  2. Encryption, particularly for company-issued devices (laptops, phones, etc.) to the extent the data can be encrypted. Two purposes are served. One: companies can prevent someone who steals or finds a lost laptop “from sucking out, bit by bit, the data on that drive and booting it up in another machine.”  This measure is important.  First, companies want to protect their employees and their data. Second, companies will not have to take a hit financially or in the court of public opinion by having to announcing a data breach. (Note: some States handle this differently and for customer-relations reasons, many companies choose to voluntarily disclose breaches to their users).

The Mobile Horse Has Already Left the Barn

The ubiquitous usage of mobile devices makes controlling a company’s data even more complicated and gives Information Technology (IT) leaders multiple headaches. Brownstone advises companies to consider issuing a second phone and to officially notify, educate, and remind employees that “Anything which involves your company device” is the company’s property.

Brownstone states “this is the cleanest way under the law to handle data on a mobile device – it is a clean way to deal with a complex issue.” He points out, however, “It gets tricky because most organizations, especially hi-tech companies, are in the mode of not wanting to stifle employees from being able to hook as much as possible into the network at any time wirelessly or otherwise” and from their devices of choice.” 

Leaving employees to (literally) their own (mobile) devices exposes the company to multiple security issues. If a company decides to follow this route, it can be difficult to change how employees operate. Brownstone points out though “If the horse is already out of the barn in a data security situation, then it is a lot trickier in advance to establish good practices.” In most cases, employees are already using their own phones for work so it’s a challenge for a company to regain control. 

Warning: You Have The Whole World In Your Hands

Other significant mobile-related considerations involve location services:

  1. Due to GPS technology, employers can potentially track where their staff is and has been and has been at all times.
  2. The frictionless sharing of Facebook, for example, means that employees download an app and opt in to sharing, or when they log-in to a site that uses Facebook credentials, their personal information gets shared.
  3. The Fourth Amendment has not prevented courts from allowing law enforcement to seize an individual’s mobile device.  In some instances, officers practice computer forensics and carry a tool that can do bit-by-bit capture of certain types of data off of a mobile device, e.g. employee data, and by logical extension, employer data. This significant information becomes not just mobile, but able to be seized by law enforcement.
  4. Remember: Not everything stored on a mobile device is encrypted!

Potential Disasters and Detours

I ask Brownstone about some of the more organizational challenges his clients face. He mentions:

  1. Sales people negotiate and close business deals by sending instant messages. If there were ever a dispute about a contract, one General Counsel feared she might not have an actual copy of the final terms of the contract. She asked Brownstone to write her a new policy, forbidding negotiations over IM.
  2. General Counsel and the CIOs/CTOs are not alwasy on the same page (or even in the same meeting). Brownstone illustrates this concern with a story about how he witnessed an IT leader telling his executive team that he had thought he was following Legal Department orders when he had captured, stored, and logged all employees’ instant messages for the prior three years. This turned General Counsel red in the face and feared all of the information would be available if the company were ever subpoenaed and had to collect, process and review all the information. The discovery process alone could cost more than any lawsuit.
  3. Brownstone cites an article that says “Lawyers are from Mars and ITs are from Venus, so you need a translator.” Both groups are infamous for their acronyms and jargon. Getting them to work together during discovery can mean interplanetary mayhem. (You can find the article here as well as some material Brownstone-co-authored on that theme).
  4. Anticipate all the potential data leaks and make a prioritized list. Brownstone recommends working through them over time. Don’t try and conquer the law in one day.

Your Employees’ Own Personal Pages 

Since I am conducting a social media-training program for a Fortune 500 company, I ask about employee-owned Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Brownstone states that it’s more challenging to establish rules for company-sponsored pages than address what employees might be doing with their own pages on their own time:

“The law is really unsettled…and there are some issues that cut across both arenas of company-sponsored and individual pages. For a company of a substantial size, if someone anonymously posts praise or an endorsement of (that) product, the FTC calls it a testimonial, and if they don’t disclose that they work at the company or are a spouse of someone that works at the company that actually runs afoul of the long-standing FTC guidelines for online product endorsements“. [Disclosure: I worked with the FTC on this in an advisory capacity while serving on the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association in 2008.]

Brownstone points out that even in the age of disclosure and transparency, publicly traded companies need to be alert: “It is very dangerous for someone to post anonymously even if they are praising the company. In some instances this is called ‘sock puppeting.’ (Read the Wall Street Journal’s article about a famous example of this involving the CEO of Wholefoods)

Brownstone recommends that companies focus on “narrowing the risk” by:

  1. Providing training for employees
  2. Implementing a Rules Based Access Control approach
  3. Using encryption as much as possible (and don’t just depend on the Cloud)
  4. Communicating with your legal advisors as soon as possible so they can advise and reroute rather than react or put out a fire
  5. Cleaning all devices before and after international travel
  6. Having a clearly identified owner for company branded social media pages. 

Note: the law is more stringent overseas, e.g. a company cannot just say they can confiscate an employees device because it is presumed that personal information exists on it.

For More Information

Brownstone speaks at conferences often, offers webinars, and publishes quite a bit. He is also an avid online reader of law and technology items, especially of what lawyers used to call “Advance Sheets.” His favorites include Law Technology News, the New York Times (especially the Business and Technology sections), Compliance Week and beSpacific. He also relies on his mentors including:

  • Bill Fenwick, whom we discussed above
  • Matt Kesner, Fenwick’s CTO
  • Browning Marean of DLA Piper, a large business international firm
  • Kevin Moore, Fenwick’s IT Director
  • Patrick Premo, a Fenwick litigation partner championing efficiency and alternative fees
  • Delos Putz, Professor Emeritus of USF School of Law

(Brownstone provided a bibliography below about eDiscovery, Computer Forensics and Technology).

Brownstone loves eDiscovery and all things “e”.  As he explains, “My wife and friends of mine say it puts them to sleep when I start talking about eDiscovery. But, I have to say as a technologist, I have seen his passion first hand. Our one-hour scheduled Chinese food lunch hours often turn into a two and half hour discussion. Fortunately, he doesn’t bill me by the hour for these talks but freely exchanges ideas as he does in his many presentations around the hemisphere.

Thank you for visiting.

Mr. Zuckerburg, tear down this Wall

Recently, I have seen some cracks in the Facebook wall. And I am not talking about the company’s weak stock price.

In the past six months, I have talked to over 200 college students around the country and almost all of them expressed their frustration with the online service.

Their concerns center on the following areas:

  • Too much clutter on the service and it’s increasingly difficult to easily accomplish simple tasks
  • Too many parents on the service
  • They can’t start a new life (so to speak) when they get to college because they already have an extensive and well-documented history on Facebook (how many of us learned more about ourselves at school and evolved into a slightly different being)
  • The inability to be annonymous and thus I have to be extra careful about my postings otherwise, I might jeopardize my career; something that seems innocent to me, such as a picture of student drinking beers with his friends, might be misinterpreted by a perpective employer
  • The terrible mobile experience — where Facebook is getting over 50% of its users
  • The constant change in the company’s algorithums, such as when determining the content that appears in a person’s New Feeds
  • The adjustment in what’s called the EdgeRank algorithm has reduced the organic (unpaid) exposure received by Facebook posts from companies. At the same time, Facebook is campaigning aggressively to get companies to pay for promoted posts to increase the reach of their content.(see good write up)
  • The lack of customer service as Seth Godin points out.
Need I say more.
It is important to note that Facebook is also becoming what Sherry Turkle describes as being like ‘job interview.’ Employers use Facebook to screen applicantes even though they could be sued for discrimination if they don’t hire the prospect.

Facebook’s Walled (in) Garden approach (trying to capture every user possible and keeping them on your website), which has been tried before by AOL, Prodigy, PathFinder (Time Warner’s old Web Portal) and MySpace, just don’t have a great track record.

Most of them have tried to keep users from treating the Web as their Oyster, building barriers to our free-style searching across the web. [I imagine, though, that Facebook will at some point change their search strategy and open things up a bit so that we can easily access other info across the web, especially those sites that use their log-in process.]

Older generations have also expressed concerns about how much people personal information share on a public wall. One has to ask the question graffiti will come back and haunt a user.

I might be alone in this thinking and I hope I am. I made a personal bet early on with Facebook, signing onto the site when it was still limited to students. (I used my alum.vassar.edu email address)

And then there is the issue of Facebook’s Business Model. Can it really turn them into a profitable mega-company. Something company’s in the Social Business space (whether they are Facebook or an advertiser on social network) need to think about.

The reality is that many regimes and company’s have fallen due to the fact that they don’t listen to their customers. Especially the core base that got them started, such as college students.

Facebook needs to tear down the wall and open up its service more to the rest of the web and more important, listen to it’s people, so it avoids a collapse of an empire (Yes, I know it will not happen overnight)

Future of Work: Genevieve Bell, Intel Corporation

I decided to kick off my Future of Work (Work’s Future) research by interviewing Genevieve Bell, who is an Intel fellow director of Intel Corporations Interaction and Experience Research.

Click the play icon below to hear the interview:
[powerpress]

In 2010, Bell was named as one of the top 25 women in technology to watch by AlwaysOn. I was fascinated by some of her previous interviews (see below for a list) and wanted to talk to someone from Intel, a company that is obviously going to play a big role in the future.

When Genevieve told me that she found her job when she met a man in a bar in Palo Alto, I knew I was in for a great discussion. She said, “He (the man in the bar) challenged me to think about how to make what I did more accessible to a wider group of people and introduced me to the people who would become my colleagues at Intel.”

She said Intel realized that her coworkers knew that the people using their products would not look like them in the future; (This made me wonder if other companies have really embraced this), so they hired cognitive psychologists, social scientists, and cultural anthropologists.

While other companies have hired these sorts of individuals, they tend to hit a glass ceiling, or some sort of ceiling, in the company where they cannot influence the final decisions about a product.

This hasn’t been an issue, however, at Intel, where she has a seat at the table with the company’s key decision makers. (I have to say that most of the company’s I have worked at have excluded the researchers and the ethnographers from important product related discussions).

The conversation was especially interesting when we looked at the role of women in technology. While I knew the prevalence of women in technology is staggering, I was amazed at some of the statistics she recited. They each indicated that companies, especially technology companies, need to really to pay attention to women.

Genevieve believes that even though companies have done a decent job in developing products for women, there has been a real disconnect that has been taking place. When women take over certain areas of technology, those areas become devalued.

I think where the disconnect exists and where I think there is great reason to have urgency and attention is that while it is certainly the case that women have achieved parity and in some place dominance of the use of certain kinds of new information and communication technologies, they are nowhere as well represented in the places of the people who make them and design them.

I think those are places that companies reasonably should pay attention, because there becomes a much more interesting question about, “What would it look like if you actually pushed on those spaces and said it’s probably not good enough that women are 17% to 20% of people getting graduate degrees in computer science?”  That’s kind of a shame.

I then asked if she thought it was true that even though men seems to be early adopters of new technology, (think Everett Rogers Diffusion of Innovations)   or Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, women tend to later adopters to new technologies. (Men start using smart phones before women for example, but then women seem to be impact the market more).

Genevieve cited three reasons:

  1. Women will not use technology unless it saves time, labor, space, or money.
  2. It has to be neutral or subtractive to whatever they carry around with them (think handbag).
  3.  The product has to work perfectly the first time out of the box (think about when you use an Apple product).

According to her, Men in the West are proud of when they can master technology, even if it takes an extensive period of time. Women, on the other hand, want it to work right away and work flawlessly. For women, the stories of mastery don’t exist.

We then discussed the importance of taking a holistic approach in developing products (I think most companies talk about understanding the customer, but they attempt to do this from a product perspective and not from a customer service perspective for example).

Genevieve explained why it is important to measure in terms of its “service infrastructure.”  What she meant by this phrase was that “It doesn’t just mean that the screen turns on.” “It means that there’s content.”

Again, I think this is a place where Amazon and Apple, in very different ways, have understood the market well.  They’ve understood that devices are really front ends to services. It the same way, people buy televisions because they may esthetically be appealing? Ultimately what makes a television a good thing is that it’s got content.

Although part of my Future of Work research is looking at the differences between multiple generations, Genevieve recommended that it might be better to look at individuals from a life stage lens or lenses, like when how people change before and after they have kids.
Probably the most fascinating comment of the interview was when I asked Genevieve about what countries are providing the most insight into the future of technology.

I asked this because the US is not always ahead of other countries as illustrated in the case of mobile technology. It was very much to my surprise when she said “Indonesia.”

Interestingly enough Indonesia is Facebook’s second biggest market and was once Blackberry’s second biggest market. It has nearly 300 million people and has an 85% literary and long tradition of adapting technology

Talking to Genevieve Bell was an amazing experience and was a great way to kick off the Future of Work series. The only disappointment of our discussion is when Genevieve told me that I would probably still be creating PowerPoint slides in 2012.

Future of Work: Cindy Jutras, Founder and CEO of MintJutras.com

I reached out to Cindy Jutras (www.mintjutras.com), a self described “data junkie,” because she focuses on how enterprise companies consume technology. This is important because Information Technology folks wrestle all the time with “To what degree do they move their infrastructure to the cloud?”

[powerpress]

Similar to some of the other women I recently spoke to, Cindy has a degree in Math and Physics with a concentration in Computer Science. She also spent many years at Aberdeen Research, which at the time was one of the premier research companies.

Cindy’s focus is really on how people use technology; “Consume” and “Consumers” were two terms Cindy used often during our discussion indicating that she tries to see things from the point of the view of the person using a given technology. She also makes the distinction between interacting with a device vs. just consuming information from a device. This made me think of the iPad as something you interact and create or be productive with vs. the Kindle which is mainly an information consumption device.

In some ways, though, I would describe her as a loyal skeptic, meaning she is extremely loyal to her work and her clients, but always ready to challenge why someone might need to play with the latest gadget or participate on the latest social network.

She was one of the few technologists to tell me “the iPad doesn’t do it” for her. “From a consumer standpoint, I’m not a big consumer of technology.  I don’t own an iPod.  I don’t own an MP3 player.  I don’t look at technology from a consumer standpoint as much as I do from a business standpoint.  So, it really depends on which perspective you’re looking at technology.  And when I look at technology, I don’t – as I said, don’t look for technology as the next gee-whiz thing  I would only buy an iPad if I thought it was really going to contribute to my ability to do my job and build my business.

While I might be reading into her personality a little bit too much, I see this as an important trait and one that probably contributes to her success, especially because more and more people will be skeptical of social networks, like Facebook, who often changes their privacy policy.

One online community Jutras frequents focuses on Six Sigma, which is something that I had been heavily involved with at Intuit. She said that she likes conversations that focus on certain performance improvement techniques. When it comes to company community websites, Jutras rightly pointed out that they often talk about technology and present their technology as the be-all and end-all, but they don’t focus on the actual business benefits.

Our research at Human 1.0 has also shown that men tend to focus more on functional related information vs. what’s the customer really going to get out of their products. This is similar to the “tell not sell” chant we often hear in management circles.

Jutras prides herself on her ability to “educate” her customers and help them clearly define their own needs. I can easily see how easy it would be for her customers to talk through their business issues with her and work towards defining their own requirement.

In terms of future trends, she sees a big opportunity for companies to leverage enterprise data using their mobile technology. “What’s not pervasive now is being able to directly interact with enterprise data from that mobile device and actually take action.  Most people want to be able get their alerts and notifications on their mobile device; but nine times out of the ten, once they have that alert, they turn that Smartphone into a dumb phone.  They pick up the phone and call someone, and they have someone else actually take the action or investigate the issue.

During our conversation, I noticed that Jutras did a great job on shying away from buzz terms such as Social Business. Her approach is “to look at business issues and needs from what these social streams can bring, and that’s connectivity, and collaboration, and openness.” This is especially true if you start dealing with individuals in more traditional industries such as manufacturing because “they tend to view social as something people do on their personal time.” They do want to collaborate.  They do want to monitor activity.  But to them, that’s not social. Which is, again, highlighting the importance of knowing your audience and customer.

Cindy mentioned a blog that I never knew about — Laurie McCabe’s, which focuses on small and medium size business processes and technology.  When we spoke about LinkedIn and Twitter, she indicated that her view of them have changed over time. LinkedIn Groups first seemed more useful, but now there seems to be a lot of self-promotion and advertising, and Twitter seems to attract a group of people just focused on building up their Klout scores. I tend to agree with this.

And of course the Big Data term was brought up in our discussion. Cindy stated “if companies start to recognize that they need a better job of managing that data, reaching the data, and handling the data, then they’re going to find that the only way they can do that is through some of these technologies, whether it’s accessing it over the cloud, whether it’s through a mobile device, whether it’s monitoring activity streams, or commentary, etc.  By looking at what – understanding what problem they need to solve, and then searching for the technology that can help them solve the problem, then they’ll arrive at that destination, technology-enabled, and also solving a problem.”

Cindy focused at the end of our discussion on the changing role of the IT leader, who has to identify and focus on specific business problems and has to work better across the organization with such groups as marketing. They also need to really live the life of a customer and understand the tasks or needs of that individual. By focusing on these, companies can help people become more efficient in their work.

Cindy is very customer focused and appears to be very efficient in how she manages her business. As I could see from our discussion, her years as an analyst have paid off and really helped build a successful consulting business.

Trends discussed:

  1. “Walking with your customer”
  2. Importance of identifying and focusing on business benefits and issues vs. talking about technology. Most successful IT people will also understand business issues
  3. Downsizing of CIO and CTOs
  4. Users of social networks like LinkedIn are becoming too promotional and marketing oriented
  5. Enterprises need to leverage mobility for an ongoing relationship

The Big 3: Marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Recently did a webinar for Bizmore.com — an exciting new website for Small Businesses – that outlined some basics for marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Enjoy!

SEO and Social Search on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Uncharted territory here — very few people have really put energy into figuring out how to do SEO within a specific social network or how these networks impact SEO on Google. (OK, some folks have looked at this last part). Today, Gary Angel of Semphonic, Inc., and I shared some of our learnings and thoughts.  See the presentation.