Nov 23

Use social automation to serve YOU (not your audience)

If This Then That

If This Then That

Last week I railed against the “Dangers of Marketing Automation.” To provide some balance, I’m following up with my favorite automation tool, IFTTT.

If you don’t what IFTTT is, it’s a powerful rules engine that let’s you automate simple tasks based on conditions.  If THIS happens then do THAT.

IFTTT is great for making your life easier, but it’s a powerful engine that can let you do stupid stuff.  For example, for a while I was using IFTTT to wish people a happy birthday on twitter. Ideally this is great because I’m terrible at remembering birthdays. The problem is the messages are sent without any context or relevance. I didn’t get a chance to make a joke about a recent event. I could only say “Happy Birthday!”. Which seems so lame, especially for people I care about.


Rule of Thumb

Use automation where it makes your administrative life easier, but doesn’t connect with your audience.


Here’s an example of what not to do

NO! This is a kitten killer.

NO! This is a kitten killer.









Each example is clickable and will bring you to the IFTTT page with details on the task.

 1. Congratulate LinkedIn connections

Congratulate connections on their new job

Congratulate connections on their new job








2. Create a record of your tweets

Keep a record of your tweets

Keep a record of your tweets







3. Dress correctly for the weather

Tell me about nasty weather

Tell me about nasty weather






4. Keep a record of shared links  

Keep a record of shared stories

Keep a record of shared stories









5. Find your phone!

Ugh, where is my iPhone?

Ugh, where is my iPhone?









If you haven’t tried IFTTT, then get started. If you do you use IFTTT, share your favorite recipe in the comments.

Nov 16

The Dangers of Marketing Automation

Iron Man Toon

Iron Man Toon

Recently I was on a panel of “The Future of Marketing.”  I spoke on the importance of:

  • Analyzing your customer data to identify business opportunities
  • Empowering employees to use social media for relationship building
  • Differentiation by providing customer value with a focus on customer experience

Human + Scaling Social

Two main themes came through in the seminar:

  1. A recognition that companies and employees of companies need to connect to consumers on a personal, human level
  2. A desire to scale social interactions through Marketing technology

I agree with the nature of these two trends and they should go together nicely. The problem lies with how many companies might implement their social business. And this isn’t the rant of a purist. Plenty of people are concerned about “The Dangers of Marketing Automation

Back to the seminar I was in… a room full of Marketers, nearly no one was using the hashtag for the event.  Approximately half of those in attendance signified (via show of hands) that they use Twitter, yet the event hashtag had less than 10% audience participation. The only participants were panelists. It seems Marketers want to wield social media in the same manner they use email – ready, aim, BLAST!

Social Marketing is not Email Marketing

What’s troubling is Marketers want to transfer their email marketing skills to social.  You can’t just ‘mail merge in’ the recipients twitter name and blast tweets out.


Run an automated DM campaign and I’m pulling your Marketing card. You can sit social out.

Social is a different beast.  It requires nuance, It requires context.  Social requires knowing your audience and having a conversation. In email marketing you can send emails on behalf of your sales team. You do that on social media and you’ll appear foolish and trite.

Guidance and Freedom

Those that want to scale one-on-one conversation via automation don’t understand social. Marketers who want to scale social should provide Guidance and Freedom to their employees.


Provide employees with everything they need to know to be an important part of your organizational social marketing team:

  • Make sure employees know the firm rules related to using social media
  • Provide training to employees on how to use social media
  • Make sure employees understand your brand messaging
  • Provide social content (tweets, status updates) that employees can use – if they’d like


Once employees have been trained and understand the guidelines, give them the freedom to be creative.  Employees should feel comfortable using the content provided by the company but should have the freedom to write their own status updates and tweets.


Photo Credit: Ironman Toon – DracRoig

Nov 09

Social Tech Focus: Save Publishing

Save Publishing

Last week Peter Shankman gave a tip I thought was worth sharing.  Save Publishing is a bookmark you install in your browser.  While on any webpage, click the “SavePublishing” bookmarketlet and it will highlight all the tweetable text on the page allowing you to easily tweet them.

Save Publishing


Try it for yourself:

Nov 06

#ForrForum Day 2 – Embracing Digital Change



Day 2 of Forrester’s eBusiness and Strategy Conference continued to focus on the impact of Digital.

Bill Doyle opened the day by providing prospective.

We Are In The Age of the Customer

1900 – Age of Manufacturing
1960 – Age of Distribution
1990 – Age of Information
2010 – Age of the Customer

Differentiate on how you treat the customer – be Customer Obsessed

Martin Gill Provided IT Advice

  • Nearly 25% of adults are online with 3 or more devices
  • 2.6 – avg # of operating systems developers deploy to
  • 4.1 – avg # of form factors developers support
  • 4.6 – avg # of browsers web developers test

What’s keeping IT from morning faster? Cost center, SLAs, Compliance, Consistency, Standards, Fear of failure, governance, waterfall processes

Optaros Provided Advice on Digital Strategy Development

Creating relevant digital commerce capabilities

  1. Strategy – Do you understand the priorities that will drive business success throughout this revolution?
  2. Customer Experience – How can you understand the new rules of engagement from the consumer’s point of view?
  3. Technology – Growing choice and complexity in technology creates huge opportunity – but is technology enough?
  4. Partners – Do your partners understand what it takes you help YOU win?

Impact of Digital on Business

Digital Commerce has profound business impact and the C-Suite has noticed
The 10 : 50 : 100 rule – Kantar Group
10% of retail is online today
50% of all retail is influenced by digital
100% of all retail is impacted by digital

Disruption: Customers have taken control

  • Erosion in Trust & Loyalty – more trust in what others are saying about the brand
  • Social Influence
  • Transparency – be prepared to react to the fact that everything is done publicly
  • Ubiquitous Access
  • Increasing Speed
  • Relevant & Consistent
  • New Basis of Competition – for example, how to compete with Amazon

Leading Digital Change – What you should be thinking about?

  • Organizational “Revolution”  align your corporate and digital strategies
  • Know your customers and what motivates them
  • Understand all your competitors
  • Think beyond .com and the single URL
  • Plan for the unexpected – be agile
  • Focus on both revenue generation and cost control
  • Priorities beyond the next budget cycle

By 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs & CTOs – McKinsey

How Mobile Can Transform Your Customer Experience

Forrester Ron Rogowski provided great info on mobile

Why haven’t firms made the mobile shift?

  • Don’t understand how their customers operate
  • Focused on legacy interaction models
  • Lack skills to design and develop breakthrough mobile experiences
  • More devices = greater overall activity (it’s net new activity)

Mobile shifts all three core attributes of a customer experience

  • Enjoyable – how enjoyable are you to do business with?
  • Easy – how easy are you to do business with?
  • Meet needs – how effective are you at meeting your customers needs?


Mobile Journey: Repair —> Elevate —> Optimize —> Differentiate


  1. Inventory your mobile presence
  2. Assess value from your customers’ POV
  3. Keep, throw out or fix


Incorporate mobile expertise into your existing CX design processes


  1. Get active and proactive about context to build enjoyable experiences
  2. Design experiences for those moments
  3. Determine the context around those moments… and use analytics to anticipate needs


  1. Innovate to differentiate: CX improvements & CX innovation
  2. Reframe the opportunity
  3. Rely on systematic and innovative tactics
  4. Build systems of engagement

Final thoughts

  1. Use customer experience — not mobile — KPIs to measure success
  2. Beg, borrow, steal, and buy native mobile talent
  3. Adopt and use analytical tools


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.

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