Nov 05

#ForrForum Day 1 – Embracing Digital Change



Day 1 of Forresters eBusiness & Strategy conference (#forrforum) is focused on helping digital leaders discover strategies and tactics they can bring back to the office to drive progress in their companies objectives.

Digital Marketers can embrace change by:

  1. Becoming Customer Obsessed – like Dominos
  2. Anointing a digital change agent – like Hallmark – Chief Digital Officer
  3. Reallocating budget – like Krispy Kreme

The Digital Business Imperative

As Moneyball’s John Henry character says, the first one through the door gets a bloody nose. As will digital change agents.  Yet, when the internal zeitgeist turns in your favor, your firm will follow your lead.

Experience is the only differentiator

Barriers to Digital Change:

56% of ebusiness professionals have an multichannel digital strategy, yet only 23% feel they can deliver on it.

  • IT can’t deliver
  • Your touchpoint choices are spiraling out of control
  • To the rest of your organization, “Digital is something HE does”
  • Todays structures are no longer fit for purpose

Setting a Path to Digital Change

You need to do two things:
1. Create the conditions for digital transformation

  1. Consolidate a digital strategy under a single customer-focused leader (Nespresso)
  2. Organize around the customer, not the function (CVS)
  3. Embed digital skills and competencies into the business (Nestle)
  4. Embrace cross-functional agile ways for working (i.e. work faster)

2. Master three essential digital skills

  1. Set and communicate digital strategy
  2. Manage Digital change
  3. Operate and optimize digital touchpoints

Each firms mix will be different

Who should lead the Digital Change?

It depends on your organizations capability:

IT Maturity eBusiness Maturity Strategy
Low Low Focus on operational excellence
High Low IT lead transformation
Low High eBusiness lead transformation
High High Focus on strategic investments on next generation experiences

How to serve social customers?

  1. Listen and respond on their chosen network
  2. Honor their issues with great customer care
  3. Solicit their ideas to solve new problems
  4. Unlock thie passion by stoking there conversations
  5. Enlist others through sharing and advocacy

That’s it for day 1, stay tuned for a day 2 wrap up.

Nov 04

#ForrForum Customer Obsession



Day zero at Forrester’s eBusiness & Business Strategy is focused on customer obsession.  What follows is my recap of the Marketing Leadership Board discussions.

Customer Obsession

We’re entering a customer obsessed Marketing age. But with so many competing efforts, it’s easy to FAIL at focusing on the customer. The focus of this day at #ForrForum is building a Customer Obsessed Marketing Organization.

Peter Shankman: Nice Companies Finish First

Peter’s main take away – as a society we expect to be treated like crap on a regular basis. Back in the 50s we expected great service and we got it. However focus has shifted to the most valuable customers to the detriment of >90% of customers.  In this environment, not sucking can be the differentiator.

4 Key ways to be one level above crap

  1. Transparency – people can’t connect to a faceless, nameless, corporate robot
  2. Relevance – man your social accounts. You need to be responsive
  3. Brevity – the average attention span 2.7 seconds. You need to write well. Good writing is brevity
  4. Top of Mind – if your are good to your audience they will be good to you.  This drives word-of-mouth marketing and builds customer loyalty

So…About Self-Promotion

Self-promotion, by itself, is a very bad thing.  Don’t use Instagram to share pictures of yourself. No one cares. Instead create content that other people want to share.

(Side note: Yelp will be gone, or fundamentally changed, within 3 years because there is no trust in these reviews).

But when self-promotion helps people

…Then it’s not self-promotion. it’s a puppy wrapped in bacon. And everyone likes a puppy wrapped in bacon.
“Helping” can be anything. A discount. A laugh. A shoulder. A low-cut. Anything not about selling that benefits someone

But the conventional wisdom is “nice” doesn’t make money…except for the fact that it like, does. It creates 10-40% in revenue.

Peter’s random add-ins

  • By the way, Marketing needs to talk to social which has to talk to customer service – or you will fail.
  • Remember that EXPERIENCE is the strongest currency. What can you do to create an experience that your customers will share?
  • The human social economy runs on two things: Bragging & Drama

Roadblocks to Customer Obsession

Everyone intuitively realizes the importance of focus on customers, bit in reality, few companies are organized and incented with the purpose of executing on holistic customer experiences.  In one breakout session we shared and discussed the key roadblocks to becoming a customer obsessed organization.

Top Roadblocks

  1. Lack of demonstrable ROI
  2. Lack of common view of the customer
  3. B2B sales model
  4. Regulations & regulatory requirements
  5. Competing priorities and/or product pushes
  6. Internal alignment | silos
  7. Infrastructure | tech for real time
  8.  Data – customer activity/data
  9. Lack of resources

Getting Support for A Marketing Obsessed Agenda

After agreeing that customer obsession is important and identified roadblocks, how do you get started?  Certainly, getting buy-in at an executive level for a customer experience agenda, so what moves them?  While feeding executives information on what customer experience can do for the organization what really seems to compel leaders is competitive benchmarking.  If executives feel they are losing market positioning to competitors, they are much more likely to invest resources in becoming an customer obsessed organization.


Nov 02

Social Media Bully Pulpit

cyberbullyingSocial Media Bully Pulpit


Activist Investor Carl Icahn recently boosted his investment in Apple stock and urged the company to use some of its $147 billion in cash for a stock buy back. A move that could potentially double the company’s $525 stock price. Bill Gross, founder and managing director of the Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) suggested, via PIMCO’s Twitter feed, that Icahn should focus his attention on charity rather than boosting his already considerable wealth.  Icahn responded by suggesting Gross join him in taking the Giving Pledge has he had done.  Gross later responded that he and his wife were taking the “Andrew Carnegie” pledge of giving away all their wealth before they die.

Here’s how it played out on Twitter:

The Point 

I am unable to find evidence that Bill Gross publicly took the Andrew Carnegie pledge before this tit for tat on Twitter.  Perhaps he had made the pledge privately but never made it publicly.  Of course there is the possibility that Gross was forced, or at least hurried, into acknowledging his plans for his considerable fortune.

The point is, it seems PIMCO got into a “Twitter Charity Brawl” for no good reason.  Neither party won in this back and forth.  Icahn comes across as a “charity bully” for calling Gross out and Gross looks like a bully for originally attacking Icahn. Even though Gross made a very large donation to charity, he get’s no points because for the pledge because he made it defensively. Why did PIMCO’s PR team allow this to happen?

Social Media Take-Aways

What can social media managers take away from this affair? Here’s some ideas.  Add your ideas in the comments:

  1. Have a plan for your social media spokespersons
    1. What are the topics they talk about?
    2. What are the topics they won’t touch?
    3. What are the escalation procedures when things go awry?
    4. What is the tone/tenor of your social spokesperson?
  2. Consider creating separate social media channels for spokespersons. This allows them to have personal views and behaviors that are *somewhat* distinct from the brand.
  3. Never forget social media is a public forum – if your  spokesperson would start an argument in a conference room full of reporters, then fine, it makes sense to do it on Twitter too.  Otherwise don’t forget that social media is a public forum full of individuals with their own agendas.
  4. Social Media works best when it’s SOCIAL – not Anti-social.  Being a bully on social media tends to back fire. People don’t like jerks.


Photo Credit - Pimkie Fotos

Oct 12

Promote Your Blog Content With This ‘RSS to Email’ Trick

email marketing - yoelCreating valuable content for your audiences is essential to your content strategy. But just as important is content promotion. You should spend as much time on content promotion as you do on content creation.

Promoting your blog content can be accomplished through a number of ways including:

  1. Embedding posts on your other digital properties such as your website
  2. Using social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to draw attention to your blog 
  3. Post syndication, either paid or earned
  4. Email marketing

This post covers how to create a method for your blog viewers to subscribe to your blog via email.  How important is email marketing? eMarketer featured a story reporting:

May 2012 data from the CMO Council showed a significant majority of marketers worldwide (67%) rated email the most successful digital marketing tactic. 

RSS to Email

‘RSS to Email’ automates the email marketing campaign process and MailChimp makes it easy to do. (I use this feature on my blog)  The RSS to Email feature sends subscribers a regular digest of your most recent posts using a template and schedule you decide.  It’s a great way to build an audience that is interested in your blog topics.  Best of all, once set up, you never have to administer it.  It’s truly set it and forget it. Based on your list size, the service may even be free.

MailChimp RSS to Email

MailChimp RSS to Email

Do It Right

A few tips on setting up Mailchimp’s RSS to Email service:

  1. You can import lists of friends into the service, make sure you’ve got their permission to start sending them email.
  2. Send up a test email list and send your posts to the test lists for a few weeks making sure your templates look correct.
  3. The email templates are serviceable, but you they also provide extensive documentation on creating custom templates.
  4. If you’re a business, consider your other email marketing campaigns.  Be sure you’re not overwhelming your subscribers.  Also, recognize that you’re managing two email campaign tools. If someone unsubscribes from one list, do you need to subscribe them from the other?  Consider how ‘RSS to Email’ fits into your broader email marketing campaign strategy.

Ready to sign up for more Marketing Technology tips? Do it HERE.


Photo Credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham

Aug 12

How to remember hundreds of passwords without writing them down

PASSWORD squareIf you’re like me you have a ga-jillion internet accounts.  Multiple email addresses, dozens of app or social media accounts. You want to keep your accounts secure so you don’t get hacked but there doesn’t seem like an easy way to do it. You either need to have the same password for every site or have a different password for every site.

Same Password

If you use the same password once a hacker accesses one of your accounts they can easily log into your other accounts. This is a nightmare scenario, especially if a hacker gets access to your shopping or banking accounts.  Perhaps if you use a really complex password this strategy is acceptable. One of the better ways to do this is with mnemonic passwords. Josette Dehaney covers mnemonic passwords nicely in her blog. Here’s an example of a mnemonic password:

     I2013 I will take the opportunity every Sunday to relax, smile = !2013!wttOeS2R:-)

Different Password

If you use a different password for each site/app you quickly realize that there are too many passwords that you need to remember and you have to write them down. Once you write down your password you’ve made it less secure, especially if it’s written on paper.  You might secure the paper in a safe box or something, but that’s of little use to you when you need it.  The “different password people” typically use a mobile password manager to save all of their passwords in a database for relatively easy access.  This Lifehacker article lists some options.

My Password System

The “same password” and “different password” approaches both have their benefits and drawbacks, My password system works well for me because each password is different but I can remember them all.  Note, I don’t claim to be the originator of this system, I’m sure I picked it up when I was running the security team for my financial firm – we had some bright security minds.

Base + Site

My password system has two components: a base and site specific

Base – The base is any short word you want to use. Four to six letters are sufficient and use a mix of alphanumeric and special characters.

Site – The site specific comes from the website or app itself.  You can pick the first four to six characters from the website (or maybe the last four to six if you want to mix it up.)

Now, put the two together. You can either do base+site or site+base. Whichever. Doesn’t matter, just pick one style and stick with it.


For our examples, our base will be “Wat3r”, the first 5 characters in a site’s name and the base+site style.

Amazon Wat3ramazo
Gmail     Wat3rgmail
Fab     Wat3rfab (note, since the site name is shorter, I used what was available)

The key to my system is to never tell anyone your base password or the system you’re using (which I just did, meaning I care about my audience so much that I’m taking on some risk).

Two Factor Authentication

Lastly a word about two factor authentication.  Some web services (Yahoo and Gmail to name a couple) provide two factor authentication passwords. Two factor authentication means that you require something you know and something you have in order to log in.  Essentially the service ties your log in to your mobile phone (what you have). Because I use my Google account for web services I use their two factor system.  It’s a bit of a pain to set up, but after you set it up you don’t have to deal with it again. Google two factor authentication creates hard to crack passwords (that you don’t have to remember) and provides an extra layer of security. You can read about it here.

If your password strategy isn’t where you want it to be, I suggest you adopt my password strategy so you don’t end up like this guy.


photo credit

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