What Marketers Want

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post titled, The Start of Something Bigger? It came on the heels of Ants Eye View’s announcement that they had just joined forces with authors/consultants, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Then last week white label community provider, Jive Software, announced that they had purchased listening platform, Filtrbox. All the while I watched with interest knowing that we had some big news of our own to announce in early January.

Let’s start with the news since I know that nobody likes to be left hanging. Today, I’m  proud to announce that Powered Inc is launching a full-service social media agency through the acquisition of industry leaders crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. The reason we’re so excited about this is because we feel that we are now better positioned to help brands (and their agencies) define and deliver comprehensive social media strategies that integrate with their traditional marketing mix. How shall we do this you ask? By leveraging tools and tactics such as Facebook, Twitter, blogger outreach, events, communities and mobile applications of course.

We felt like it was important to take this approach because up until now, marketers have lacked a "go to" resource that could meet all of their social needs. This does not diminish any of the smart, driven and successful other boutiques and consultancies out there that help their clients with their social initiatives but rather that none of them truly provide the end-to-end solutions necessary to meet all of a marketers needs — at least not with scale. While this may not have been a big deal in 2009 when the entire economy took a mulligan, it will be in 2010 as social media moves from experiment to mission critical. Okay, I know you’ve probably got tons of questions. I’m going to try to preemptively answer a few below but you there will also be several opportunities to join us live this week:

As for the answers, here goes…

Why didn’t Powered just develop these additional social media capabilities? We thought long and hard about the “build vs. buy” strategy, but in the end, we realized that we would dramatically increase our speed to market and add some serious talent (not to mention about 50 new brand relationships) to the Powered team by moving forward with these acquisitions.

Who are Crayon, Drillteam, StepChange?

  • Crayon brings extensive experience as a strategic social marketing consultancy to the table. They work with Fortune 1000 brands to develop strategies that positively impact customer relationships through the integration of continuous online conversations into traditional marketing programs. Crayon President Joseph Jaffe and his entire team will join Powered’s robust staff of marketers, content creators and social media leaders, with crayon and Powered immediately merging their capabilities.
  • Drillteam is an engagement marketing agency specializing in earned media.  Drillteam helps brands acquire and energize customer advocates, then sustain momentum through both offline events and online communities, and promotions on platforms like Facebook, niche blogs and Twitter.  Drillteam will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
  • StepChange enhances a brand’s reach by extending presence into social networks and mobile platforms through Facebook development/applications, social site development, mobile/apps and Widget Ads.  StepChange will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.

Will Joseph Jaffe (Crayon) be staying on? If so, what role will he play at Powered?
Who is Joe Jaffe? Of course we’re kidding. Joe will play a big role in the new organization as “Chief Interrupter” of the group. He will continue to challenge the industry by providing prolific thought leadership, vision and guidance via his Jaffe Juice blog, podcast and TV show, keynote and panel presence at industry events and conferences, as well as his three books (Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and soon to be released, Flip the Funnel). More importantly, he will serve as a valued resource to Powered clients to “interrupt” the status quo, think through their social strategy and help conceive and flesh out unique and specific ideas and programs in the space.

Does the industry need another agency?
The industry certainly doesn’t need another agency that does the same thing as its predecessors. To be perfectly honest, we’re not exactly enamored with the idea of being called an “agency” at all. But this isn’t about us: It’s about the world’s largest, loved and important brands and what they need. Many members of our leadership team have lived, and successfully navigated through, several key advances in brand management, communication and emerging media innovation—led by the rise, fall and rise again of digital. We see the gaping void, disconnect or chasm between identification of need and the ability to fully deliver against that need. Social media is not another color on the media flow chart and it is not a subservient subset of digital either. Instead, we see social as a truly pervasive and transformational category in of itself that spans the entire marketing gamut—and even beyond it (touching P.R., customer service, R&D, innovation and customer experience). For that reason, we believe that we will be one of the first—and certainly not the last—of specialist, best in class agents that are equipped, staffed and scaled to fully execute and activate against this growing capability, skill set, need and opportunity.

What is a Social Agency?
A Social Agency or social media agency is an entity that assists companies and brands in the new world of conversational marketing. The confluence of digital, virtual and peer-to-peer networks is causing consumers to act more as a collective than ever before, and they are demanding a truly two-way conversation. We are looking to be the partner that will help brands enter and be successful in that conversation, by building a successful strategy that:

  • Connects business to social
  • Joins and manages network presence
  • Builds and manages branded communal spaces
  • Connects conversationally through mobile and physical events

The Social Media Agency is the horizontal layer that must be centrally managed but also closely integrated with all of the traditional vertical functions of marketing, such as media, interactive, PR and creativ

What
else am I missing? A lot I’m sure. But as you know, I’m pretty good at delivering updates real time through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog, etc. Oh, we’re also planning a couple of big blowouts at OMMA Social (January 26) and South by Southwest (SXSW Interactive) in mid-March.

Let’s get it on! 

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Marketing to Marketers (guest post)

From time to time, my man, Bill Fanning, in our BizDev group gets fired up and throws a post together. You hear from him semi-regularly as he shares his wisdom on the Weekly Social Marketing Links posts I put up. You may also remember him from the Would you Join a Toothpaste Community post we co-penned several months back. Anyway, check out his latest as he talks about "marketing to marketers."

-Aaron

 

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I read an interesting blog post this morning about cold calling.  It got me thinking, how do Marketers wish to be marketed to?…a topic I’ve been interested in since joining the business development team at Powered a couple years ago.

marketer1

The truth is, I don’t cold call prospects…there, I said it.  When I say cold call, I mean calling someone I don’t know, who doesn’t know me and probably is not familiar with my company.  I know traditional VP’s of Sales and Business Development are shaking their heads at me in disgust as they read this post but let’s be honest, the odds of getting someone to respond to a true cold call are very slim…even more so today than several years ago.  If you do get a response, you’ve effectively started your relationship by saying “Hey, I want to sell you something…”  Not the best way to kick off a trusted relationship.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t react well to people trying to sell me something.  Actually, I don’t react at all.  I simply tune them out. 

The recent increase in options for us, as consumers, to ignore traditional interruptive marketing tactics has changed how we are willing to interact with vendors / brands in our day to day lives both personally and professionally. 

  • Caller ID allows me to screen my calls so I can decide which call to answer…I haven’t answered a telemarketer’s call in years.
  • Tivo and DVR allow me to record shows I like and fast forward past the advertisements (I do watch the FreeCreditReport.com and E*Trades commercials though…very funny).
  • I have XM in my truck and use Pandora or iTunes at home…no commercials there.
  • I generally discover interesting brands and vendors from trusted sources through social networks, my Google Reader and off-line word of mouth from friends and associates.

The point is, traditional interruptive marketing tactics are becoming less affective and not a good way to develop relationships with consumers.  True cold calling is about as interruptive as it gets.

We try to apply the same philosophy to our prospecting efforts as we do when building strategy with our customers to engage their consumers. 

  • Provide valuable information/resources to consumers.  In our case that means providing information on our website about Social Marketing in general in a variety of formats (articles, blog posts, podcasts, etc.)  Not just information about our offerings.  Share valuable, thought provoking information to prospects via e-mail and Twitter.
     
  • Give consumers a means to interact with the company.  Anyone can add comments to our blog posts, share and rate content.  We have a Facebook fan page and company Twitter feed in addition to many of our employees active on Twitter (Aaron Strout, Doug Wick, Kathy Warren, Natanya Anderson, Ryan Joy, Jay Macintosh, me…just to name a few).  As appropriate for our consumers, we will add additional means of interaction on our website in the future.
     
  •  Intelligently merchandise products and services in a non-interruptive manner.  We learn as much as possible about our prospects before engaging in conversation and certainly before making any recommendations.  We try to engage folks in a natural non-interruptive manner through our website, twitter, e-mail, leveraging existing relationships, etc.
     
  •  Measure activity to understand what’s working and what’s not.  We measure all behavior on our website, webinar registration vs. participation, pipeline and forecast etc. and evolve the process as needed.     

Simply put, we want to be a valuable resource to consumers interested in Social Marketing.  If we do our jobs right, it should naturally drive more interaction with our prospects and industry experts. 

Back to my original question, how do you wish to be marketed to?  How can we improve?

 

 

Photo courtesy: http://www.urban-ninja.com.za