Category: Marketing

NewComm Forum presentation by Brian Solis: The New Organization Landscape for Marketing Communications

Brian-Solis-NewCommForum-09 Brian Solis – founder of FutureWorks, PR 2.0 blogger, and revolutionary thinker – presented at NewComm Forum 09 last month about “The New Organization Landscape for Marketing Communications.” Here are the highlights of his fabulous presentation, which has yet to be released:

Solis asked “Who owns social media?” A very hot topic in the blogosphere these days, it was a great way to start the presentation because all ears pricked up.

He said that no one owns it and, at the same time, everyone owns it. The sum of all parts (of an organization) make a whole. And social media affects every part of an organization.

Solis then described social media as “the new gold rush,” where everyone’s jumping in because “it’s hot” and “it’s supposed to be what we’re doing.”

But, Solis says, the question we should be asking is: “How are we going to socialize what we (our brand) represent?”

And who represents your brand in the Social Web does matter. Solis recommended that organizations carefully consider who in the company should be entrusted with the keys to the Ferrari. He talked about “Twinterns” or interns who are in charge of corporate Twitter or other social media accounts. He said, “Are you going to risk having a Twintern deal with a blogger with thousands of RSS subscribers?”

“Are you going to risk having a Twintern deal with a blogger with thousands of RSS subscribers?”

There are other ways to be cost effective.

Companies today are still viewing Social Media from a top-down perspective…when they really need to be embracing it more as an evangelical initiative.

“Social Media provides a fantastic opportunity to build communities and create ways to get other people to go out and do work for you,” said Solis. Each division in a company needs to be “socialized” in order to build these communities.

How would this setup occur in an organization? A social media “team” begins an “interagency” within your organization. The new roles for this new communications agency would look like this:

  • Digital Anthropologist
  • Strategist
  • Communications Manager
  • Research Librarian
  • Support Team

The most important thing to remember is that social media is about sociology; not technology. Effective immersion into this world requires experience, insight and perspective…solidified by interaction…and measured by relationships.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Yeung –

NewComm Forum: Trends, tips and thoughts about evolving social web communications

Before tactics, you need strategy. Before strategy, you need research. The analysis of your research will ultimately open doors to new ideas, opportunities and directions. Only then will you have insight.

“Research without insight is just trivia.” – Katie Delahaye Paine

Put simply, the 2009 NewComm Forum was a hotbed of insight dispensed and discussed by the new media communications elite. As appropriate for a research firm-sponsored event, the presentations and discussions were littered with heaps of advice and best practices.

ShelHoltz_NewCommForum09 Held in San Francisco, from April 26-29, the Forum catered to about 400 professionals from the communications, media and marketing industries. I honestly had difficulty choosing between the sessions – which were highly relevant and practical, as well as forward thinking. From the “New Business Models for News Organizations” roundtable discussion with Tom Foremski and Andria Carter to the “Social Media and Crisis Communications Revisited” keynote with Shel Holtz, the conference was pure bounty.

Beyond the lack of power strips for laptops, my only disappointment was that I could not attend all of the presentations, which were delivered in a break-out session format. Fortunately though, after the conference, many of the presentations were made available here for download.

The value of this conference is in its DNA as a product of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR). If you work in communications, marketing and/or media and you’re not familiar with SNCR, you should be. According to the SNCR website, the organization is “a global nonprofit research and education foundation and think tank focused on the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society.”

Include this conference in your budget for 2010. Now.

NOTE – Stay tuned for highlights from “The New Organization Landscape for Marketing Communications” a presentation (not available for download on the SNCR website) by Brian Solis. I will also create a separate post regarding the “Trends in Journalism” session.

Nine strategies for protecting your subscription revenue stream

ProprietaryRevenue1 Is your subscription revenue threatened by the current economic climate?

Whether your organization is b2b or b2c or non-profit, whether you’re a local business or global enterprise…and whether subscriptions and memberships are your business model or your gravy – now is the time to start protecting this precious revenue stream.

Here are nine strategies to get you on the path toward preservation – and, yes, possibly growth:

1.     Get creative with the packaging of your benefits and services

  • Figure out what benefits and services are being used the most and which ones are not. What benefits and services are not being offered that would be logistically and economically feasible to add?
    • Ask your existing customers using a quick online survey
    • Study your usage data, trends, and patterns
  • Pare down your packages so they include only the most popular and/or practical benefits and services and change pricing accordingly.  
  • For your big customers who want the existing entire enchilada: Spice the package with a few extra features and benefits (again, base this on data/feedback) and increase your price for the “premium” package by 15-20% minimum
  • Consider subscription packages for “niche” audiences – for Package1 example:
    • Verticals
    • Channels
    • Technologists
    • Millennials
    • Students / Seniors
    • Government / Non-profits

2.     Consider changes to your Terms of Service and/or Length of Contract (this can be extended or reduced based on your strategy and market)

3.     Offer an E-membership or E-subscription package at a greatly reduced rate

4.     Collaborate on a joint subscription/membership with another business or organization that may offer relevant, complementary services/offerings.

5.     Consider creating an online community as the heart of your subscription-based business model. Although it will require manpower to manage it, the technology is established and it’s free. Best of all, the community will be considered a valuable benefit in your subscription package.

6.     Promotions, Deals, Incentives, Limited Time Offers – Make them count. Don’t bother with 10 or 15 or even 20% off. Those offers will not move the needle in this economic climate. Try 20-25% off to start, buy-one-get one free, two-for-one, multiple seats, all-inclusive, 1 or 2 extra months added at the end of the contract, whatever…just make it compelling.

7.     Referral programs – It’s no mistake that this is lucky #7 on the list. The power and potential of this program alone – using the social web – is staggering (yes, even in this economy). To expound on this strategy would require a separate blog post.

8.     Testimonials – I know this sounds elementary; but when is the last time you updated your customer testimonials? Are they relevant to each of your target markets? How prominent are your testimonials? How ubiquitous are your testimonials and references (yes, this ties in to #7 too)?

9.     Make it as simple and seamless to renew as possible. Most important: Make it easy for your customers to give you money.

Note: If packaging creativity and flexibility are constrained by technology, it’s time to revisit your IT investments. Seriously. The collaboration and content management solutions out there today will astound you AND save you money and heartache in the near and long term.

Delivering a quality sales lead in 10 minutes (for free)

This is a true story. It’s one of many that occurs every minute – by the hundreds, if not thousands – on the Internet Social Web.

Today I answered some questions posed by users on LinkedIn. Answering questions is a great way to network, grow your business, and establish yourself as a thought leader and credible resource in the industry. Or you can simply answer questions to be nice…and to give back to the Social Web, which gives so much to us 24/7, for free, and asks for nothing in return. My motivation at the time was the latter. Here’s a question that I answered (click on image to read it):

Web usability: Dismissed in bubbles, embraced during trouble

It seems just like yesterday when “design usability” was all the rage. I recall it was right around the time of the dot-com crash, with ecommerce sites folding like a bad poker hand, that “usability” became royalty. Companies that were eagerly rolling out the red carpet during those tough times were often the same ones that wouldn’t acknowledge usability during the good times.

With a proven reputation in retail circles, the principles of web usability ultimately pervaded the corporate world – where guru Jakob Nielsen became a household name. The web world was getting it. Design and usability were very important.