Tag Archives: Social Media

Gift Business: Innovation In Gift Giving (Part 2)

Earlier, in Gift Business: How Do People Buy Gifts? (Part 1), we covered the individual steps of the gift giving process.  Here, in Part 2, we will take a look at innovations that improve, replace or eliminate these steps.

We have already talked about the gift receipt innovation in our previous post.  The logical follow up is the gift card.  Aiming to make the entire process even more efficient, the gift card eliminates the SPECIFIC GIFT substep entirely for the gift giver, and makes the DELIVERY step easier, by reducing the size of the gift significantly, sometimes entirely, in the case of electronic gift cards.  

Because of its convenience, a number of new business models emerged around the gift card idea.  We are not merely talking about existing online and offline retailers, like Amazon or Starbucks selling their gift cards, but rather about new businesses that make concepts previously deemed impossible or impractical come to life.

CashstarOutsourced gift card services is one such concept.  For retailers that do not want to implement a gift card service by themselves, either because they are not tech-savvy enough or simply do not want to make the necessary investment, companies like CashStar provide a practical solution. CashStar’s digital gifting platform lets B2C and B2B retailers integrate a complete e-gift card service to their offering.  Customers can create personalized e-gift cards with their own text, photos and videos, then send them to recipients via the retailer’s website, mobile site or even Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, the company is the main enabler of another concept made possible by the gift card innovation: social gifting.   In Facebook: Show Me The Money, we talked about Facebook’s role as an Integrated Social Utility:

“Facebook is … a social utility.  Just like other utilities, it is meant to work with other businesses, not compete with them.  That means it can be the provider of all kinds of social data to whoever is willing to pay for it.  Facebook has the ability to be the irreplaceable partner of every internet based business out there, integrated into their systems, providing them with data about their customers they otherwise would not be able to get.”

Wrapp MobileEven though Facebook has acquired social gifting start up Karma last year, and turned it into Facebook Gifts, the company allows its users to send paid-for, discounted or free gift cards to their friends via applications from dedicated gifting companies such as WrappDropGifts, or Boomerang.  CNET editor Paul Sloan explains in his article The Social Gifting Boom:

“It works like this: You sign up for Wrapp, either on the Web site or via the mobile app, by connecting directly to your Facebook account information. Wrapp notifies you of each friend who’s having a birthday, say, or who’s gotten engaged. Then, because of the targeting options it gives its retail partners, Wrapp will match its offers with information about the person you want to send a gift card. The choices you’ll see for a woman 18 to 25 are different than those for a man in his 40s.

While many of the cards are free, there is also an option to add more money. So you can chose to give a free $6 H&M gift card to a friend for Christmas, or you can make it for more, as any real friend would. Once you pick the offer, you write a message, press the Give button and you’re done. Your friend gets a notice on her Timeline, and it shows up in the news feeds of mutual friends (although there are options to send it directly through e-mail or SMS). If you receive a gift, Wrapp requires you to download the app to redeem it.”

Sloan believes that the beauty of the model is not how it works for the user, but the way companies like Wrapp have convinced their retail partners to give away free gift cards. Companies treat these cards almost like coupons, and gladly give away cards of a certain value because they know full well that recipients will either add more money to the card or that when they come to the store to redeem the card, they will end up spending more than just what is on the card.

treaterThere are others, as always, who look for the niche within the niche.  Treater is a gifting platform for sending casual, spur-of-the-moment, consumable, low price gifts.  It does work under the same principles as its larger rivals, but unlike them, it focuses on everyday treats, low cost items and local businesses instead of  formal occasions, big ticket items and national brands.  The idea is that next time a Facebook friends posts a status update on what a bad day they are having, you can send them a cup of mocha to make them feel better or when a friend announces a promotion at work, you can give your congratulations by treating them to a burger for lunch.

Even though gift cards provide recipients with the flexibility of making their own decision at the SPECIFIC GIFT step, there is always the possibility that the recipient may not exactly be happy with the LOCATION, or even the GENERAL IDEA.  In such a situation, the recipient could be stuck with an unwanted gift card.

This is where gift card exchange services come in. Exchange services such as Cardpool or Plastic Jungle allow gift card owners to either sell their gift cards, or trade them for another gift card of their choosing, at a discount.  The process is fairly simple. Once the gift card owner enters the gift card information (merchant, amount, card number) on the exchange’s website, the exchange will make the gift card owner an offer, if they want to sell the card, or display trade options, if they want to trade the card. Most gift cards can be sold or traded online, without the need to visit a store.

The ultimate solution to the unwanted gift issue, however, comes from Amazon.  Even though it has not been implemented yet, Amazon received a patent for a System and Method For Converting Gifts on November 2010.  The background of the patent application explains the motivation behind the innovation:

“…it sometimes occurs that gifts purchased on-line do not meet the needs or tastes of the gift recipient. For example, the recipient may already have the item and may not need another one of that same item. Alternatively, the item may not be the right size, the right type, the right style, and so on. In such situations, the recipient may wish to convert the gift to something else, for example, by exchanging the gift for another item or by obtaining a redemption coupon, gift card, or other gift certificate to be redeemed later.
… However, the process of converting the gift to something else once it has already been opened may be perceived by the recipient as being inconvenient. This may particularly be the case in the context of a gift purchased on-line, where the gift would likely need to be repackaged for shipping back to the merchant. Accordingly, the recipient may not ultimately convert the gift to something else, even though the gift does not meet the needs or tastes of the recipient.”

Amazon Patent Gift ConverterThe patent’s basic idea is a system by which a recipient’s gifts will be converted into things they actually want, through personalized lists and filters. Similar to email filters for products, potential recipients set up a personalized series of rules, and if any gifts sent through the online merchant trigger these rules, the recipients are sent either an item from their Amazon Wish List, or a gift certificate instead of the unwanted gift.

While innovative, the system drew sharp criticism from not only traditional minded gift givers, but also from etiquette experts.  The system was accused of being “dishonest” and while returning gifts that will not be used is deemed acceptable, returning gifts before even receiving them is considered to take the focus away from the appreciation of being given a gift.

wantful catalogThe balance between pragmatism and the spirit of gift giving we like is that of Wantful.  The company enables gift givers to choose gifts and create a small catalog of gifts. The recipient is sent a beautifully designed and personalized hard copy catalog that allows them to choose a gift, which is later sent to them in the mail. It is almost like a nice compromise on all fronts: the gift giver gets the convenience of not having to go to the store and the post office, while the recipient not only gets a nice, “hands on” catalog, but also has a degree of freedom in choosing a gift they want, without the hassle of  having to return an unwanted one.

Yet another innovative concept is group gifting.  Uniting the resources of many gift givers into a gift card enables the recipient to receive a more expensive gift they actually want,  instead of many small valued and mostly unwanted ones.  Group gifts not only make it possible for the gift givers to co-buy a gift of larger value, but also let the recipients choose or sometimes even predetermine their SPECIFIC GIFT.

A number of models have emerged around the group gifting concept.  eBay’s Group Gifts is one of them.  Once the gift fund is set up via an eBay and a PayPal account, gift givers can be notified via email or Facebook, and contribute to the fund with their credit cards.  No one gets charged until everyone chips in, and once it is fully funded, the gift fund will be sent to the designated PayPal account, and the recipient can checkout the same way as they would normally purchase any item on eBay.  It is a simple system that combines existing infrastructures of eBay and PayPal into an innovative service.

DreamBank‘s model is slightly different than the average gift fund.  Rather than focusing on items as gifts, the platform lets a recipient set up a fund for their dreams and enable gift givers to fund the recipient’s dream, which can be anything from a Caribbean cruise to an anniversary party, from a certificate program at the local university to ballroom dancing classes. The service is built as a community, so the recipient and the gift givers can interact over time with each other by sharing progress, resources or even encouragements. Gift givers can also set up a DreamBank account for unsuspecting recipients and surprise them after the dream has been funded.

SocialGift provides outsourced group gifting services for existing online retailers. Similar to what CashStar is doing for gift cards, SocialGift provides retailers with a plug-in for their product pages.  Customers can create a group gift directly from the retailer’s online store via an event page.  Through the event page, gift givers can determine how many people will contribute, track the progress of funds raised, invite more people to contribute or socialize with other gift givers.  The gift is shipped immediately, once the funds have been raised. If the gift is underfunded by a predetermined date, a gift card for the amount raised by the group is sent to the recipient.

While all the innovative concepts mentioned in this post so far have touched upon, utilized or modified most of the steps of the gift giving process, one step alone is outside the scope of most businesses: WRAPPING. This is where Delightfully comes in for digital gifts.

DelightfullyRecognizing the need to capture and enhance the emotional aspect of gift giving, Delightfully presents itself as “wrapping paper re-imagined”. Through Delightfully, gift givers can select an unwrapping experience for their gift, from 3-D mazes to a puzzle, from photo albums to a virtual tour. Gift givers can add their own personal messages and photos to the preexisting tools of the “wrapping paper.” Facebook users even have all of their photos on Facebook available for the platform. Co-founder Jason Shin explains:

Gift-giving is intended to be about a relationship between two people — not a vendor and a recipient.  When we talk about digital gift-wrapping, what we mean is showing some effort, the same way you do when you do a great job wrapping a physical gift.”

We have only talked about but a small subset of innovations and new businesses in the gift space.  Undoubtedly, some of them will prevail, while others will not. John D. Rockefeller once said that “the power to make money is a gift from God.”  Which of the businesses and innovations we have covered have received that gift, and which of them will convert that gift into their own gift cards? Time will tell.

Reklamlar

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

How Important Is Social Connectivity?

Sixteen years ago, around this time of the year, I was one semester away from finishing up my Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  As with most students getting ready to finish school, it was job hunting season.  Perfecting resumes, writing customized cover letters, researching potential employers, attending information sessions and all other job hunt related tasks added up to an almost full time job by themselves.

Part of that job was getting ready for interviews.  My friends and I spent many hours conducting mock interviews with each other, preparing ourselves for those stressful meetings with recruiters.  Each type of job had its own interview format, and as a candidate for management consulting positions, I spent a lot of time practicing for Fermi Problems.

CalculationNamed after physicist Enrico Fermi, Fermi problems are typically about estimating quantities that seem impossible to compute given limited available information. These are questions like “How many airplanes are in the air around the world right now?” or “How many color printers are there in Istanbul?” The most famous Fermi problem, asked by Fermi to his students, is “How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?”

In a consulting interview setting, the interviewers are less interested in the actual number answer to the question than the methodology used by the candidate to get to the answer.  In the absence of relevant data, the candidate is expected to make use of  commonly available knowledge, break the problem into smaller problems while making assumptions and approximate calculations. Fermi problems help interviewers evaluate the candidate for reasoning, structured thinking, practical knowledge, mathematical skills, ability to deal with uncertainty and making estimations – all very useful skills in management consulting.

While practicing for Fermi type consulting interview questions, I sometimes fantasized about the following scenario: A candidate walks into a consulting interview. The interviewers ask the candidate to estimate something like how many personal computers there are in Mexico. The candidate asks them to wait a moment, makes a call on his cell phone, and repeats the question. He waits for a few seconds, says thank you, hangs up and says “As of this past Monday, there are 18,453,901 personal computers in Mexico. Would you like to know anything else?” The interviewers are very impressed and hire the candidate on the spot.

Whenever I talked about this fantasy with my friends, they would all object to the ending and say that would be considered cheating and would defeat the purpose of the interview and as far as they were concerned, the candidate should be kicked out. I did see their point, but disagreed because I thought surely, someone that well connected and can reach seemingly impossible data with a simple phone call would be worth a lot to any organization.

That was sixteen years ago and we live in a very different world now.  Last month, I read Andrew Razeghi’s Fast Company article, Do You Hire For IQ Or Klout Score, which reminded me of my fantasy.  Razeghi considers both intelligence and social connectivity as important traits in business, especially from an innovation perspective.

“The line is quickly blurring between the value of what we know and who we know. This then begs the question: which is more important? Is it more valuable to have the answer? Or is it more valuable to know who has the answer?

In an academic environment we call the latter cheating. But in the corporate world, does it really matter if you know the answer to the problem, or is it more important that you can find out who does?”

In Understanding, Defining And Achieving Innovation, we talked about the seven brain attributes (thinking and behavioral tendencies) of people.  What Razeghi’s questions really lead to is when strong analytical and structured thinking skills are more essential than social thinking, expressiveness and assertiveness, and vice versa.

My answer to Razeghi’s question is “it depends.” While intelligence and ability are important across the board, certain business functions especially benefit from the size of an individual’s social network, and how influential the individual is within that network.  It is essential, for example, for product management and marketing, where a manager has to interact with many external service providers (agencies) of varying functions, managing them to get work done on time with a reasonable budget. For recruiting, knowing how to reach people with various sets of skills and the ability to convince them to take a particular job is priceless.  (Receive any connection requests on LinkedIn from headhunters recently?) For sales, this is even more so, for each contact within the salesperson’s network becomes either a potential customer or a lead to a potential customer.

Even within an organization, who you know and how influential you are with them matters.  Once you “learn the ropes” of an organization, things run more smoothly. Being on friendly terms with Bob the CEO’s Assistant may get you a brief meeting with his boss during an otherwise impossibly busy day. Your friendship with Mary from IT can determine whether your laptop gets repaired by lunch or by the end of next week.

kloutSocial connectivity has always been important in business, but never more so than in today’s world.  Businesses are increasingly looking at measures of social connectivity such as Klout Scores when screening candidates. Klout is an online service that measures people’s online influence and scores it on a scale from 1 to 100. In order to do so, Klout analyzes people’s social media data from all kinds of sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Foursquare. The Klout Score is calculated by applying Klout’s proprietary scoring model to more than four hundred signals such as number of friends, followers, comments, likes, retweets, all gathered from seven different networks on a daily basis. The claim is that the better someone’s Klout Score, the better connected and influential that person is.  Klout spokeswoman Lynn Fox is quoted in a recent Forbes article:

“We look at this as similar to an SAT.  It is one of many factors that is considered when a person applies to a university. Likewise, the Klout Score can be used as one of many indicators of someone’s skill set.”

Although somewhat controversial, Klout is beginning to get recognized as a legitimate measure of influence by businesses. In his Wired article titled What Your Klout Score Really Means, Seth Stevenson tells the story of an experienced marketing consultant who gets asked what his Klout Score is during an interview with a marketing agency.  The candidate gets turned down for the position due to his low Klout Score.  He then spends the next six months working hard to increase his Klout Score, and realizes that as his score rises, so do the number of interviews and job offers he gets. The consultant’s take: “Fifteen years of accomplishments weren’t as important as that score.”

The Tipping PointThe point is that social connectivity, however it gets measured, is important, sometimes even essential. One person who wrote about this way back in 2000, before there were social networks, user generated content and Klout Scores in our lives, is Malcolm Gladwell.  Gladwell saw the importance of social connectivity and talked about it in his bestselling book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.  In his book, Gladwell examines what he calls social epidemics, which are “ideas and products and messages and behaviors [that] spread like viruses do.” According to Gladwell, there are three laws in the tipping points of social epidemics:

  1. The Stickiness Factor, which is about the actual informational content and packaging of a message. Messages must have a certain quality which not only causes them to “stick” to the recipients’ minds, but also is considered to be worth passing on.
  2. The Law of Context, which is about the rule of the environment in which the message is being passed.  Gladwell states that “epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur.”
  3. The Law of the Few, which states that “the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” Gladwell calls these people Mavens, Salespeople and Connectors.

Mavens are the information specialists of the social network. They accumulate knowledge, evaluate it and if they deem it worthy, pass their evaluations and the original message to others in a skilled fashion.  Mavens control what messages flow through the social network.

Salespeople are charismatic people with strong persuasion and negotiation skills.  They can propagate messages through the social network, even to people they do not personally know.  Salespeople control how strongly the messages flow through the social network.

Connectors are people who have made large number of friends and acquaintances, and are in the habit of facilitating the formation of new social connections between them. They invest time and effort into maintaining their social connections, which are many more times the number than the average person. Gladwell calls them “[people who] link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” He also attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” Connectors control how wide and how quickly the messages flow through the social network.

viralTying all of this back to the seven brain attributes, it would be safe to say that we would expect the three types of people stated in The Law of the Few to be strong in different brain attributes.  I would expect a Maven to be strong in analytical and conceptual thinking, whereas a Salesperson would most likely excel in expressiveness and assertiveness.  A Connector would undoubtedly possess great social thinking skills and good flexibility.

If one sees the world of business through Gladwell’s eyes, it is clear that the goal of any business organization is to start social epidemics, for every business exists to create “ideas and products and messages and behaviors” and make sure that they “spread like viruses do.” Assuming that the other two of the three laws are fulfilled, meaning the product/service/message possesses high quality content and packaging in a favorable environment, The Law of the Few can very well determine the success of a business.

So I repeat my answer to Razeghi’s question. It depends.  It depends on the line of business, it depends on market conditions, it depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. But social connectivity does make a big difference. Deciding on how to use it, where to apply it and whom to hire to get it – well, that is the art of management.

Let us take a moment here, and recite a paraphrased version of the Serenity Prayer for executives:

God, grant my business the analytical resources to develop a high caliber product/service/message and a well functioning organization,

The social connectivity to start social epidemics that can make my product/service/message reach and stick with my customers,

And the business wisdom to help me decide how, when and where in my organization to utilize the two.

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

From Data To Wisdom On The Internet

The DIKW Hierarchy is a model that explains the relationships and the distinctions between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom.  Although these concepts are commonly used for one another in our daily life, in scientific and business thinking, they have very different meanings.

The first time I became aware of these distinctions was while taking the Systems Methodology course by Prof. Iraj Zandi at the University of Pennsylvania, a course that significantly altered the way I view the world.  I remember Prof. Zandi talking about these four different but interrelated concepts, explaining them in a model proposed in 1988 by another Penn professor, Prof. Russell Ackoff, one of the pioneers of systems thinking.

Ackoff, in his article titled From Data to Wisdom, proposed that the contents of learning in an organization, regardless of size, can be represented as follows:

Data: symbols

Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” questions

Knowledge: application of data and information; answers “how” questions

Understanding: appreciation of “why”

Wisdom: evaluated understanding

Several years later, in 1997, Gene Bellinger elaborated on Ackoff’s model and came up with his version:

Personally I contend that the sequence is a bit less involved than described by Ackoff. The following diagram represents the transitions from data, to information, to knowledge, and finally to wisdom, and it is understanding that supports the transition from each stage to the next. Understanding is not a separate level of its own.

Here is an example of mine that may help explain the sequence:

Data: It rained today between 2:30 PM and 3:18 PM.  A rainbow was visible in the sky from 3:18 PM to 3:30 PM. The sun was also shining after 3:18 PM, once the rain clouds had passed.

Information: There is a connection between the rain and the rainbow.  Other combinations of a rainbow appearing after a rain shower have been observed many times previously.  There were times when it rained with no rainbow following, but a rainbow was ALWAYS preceded by a rain shower. And the sun was ALWAYS shining in all of these circumstances. Whenever the clouds had not parted, a rainbow was not visible.  A rainbow can only be seen after it rains and if the sun is shining.

Knowledge: The rainbow consists of different colored lights.  The only light source when it happens is the sun.  Somehow the light of the sun must be transformed into different colors.  When there is no rain there is no rainbow and when there is heavy rain there is also no rainbow.  There must be a specific concentration of raindrops in the air to form the rainbow.  The raindrops in the air must somehow be transforming the sunlight into different colors.

Wisdom: We see rainbows because of the geometry of raindrops. When the sun shines from behind us into the rain, incident rays of light enter the drop and are refracted inwards. They are reflected from the back surface of the raindrop, and refracted again as they exit the raindrop and return to our eyes. Refraction is responsible for splitting the sunlight into its component colors.  The rainbow will alter as you move and will differ from others’ perceptions. Because the light from any single drop is dispersed, only one ray of a particular color reaches your eye. The violet band that you see leaves the corresponding raindrops at about a 40.6° angle, and the red band that you see leaves its corresponding raindrops at 42.4°, so the red light is from raindrops higher in the sky relative to your eye. (Explanation by WebExhibits)

What made me think of all this was an article by Nichole Kelly, President of SME Digital, titled How Data Hype Is Destroying Your Social Media ROI.  Kelly warns marketers about various infographics to be found all over the Internet, and urges them to double check the accuracy of the information represented within.

“In the early years of social media marketing (just 6-8 years ago, really) several major media outlets chastised bloggers claiming they didn’t cite sources and do enough research to make sure the information was accurate. The social media crowd stood up and said that our audiences would control bad information by calling it out, complaining in comments, or simply not sharing the information with others. In essence, our audience would be the filter for bad information.

Well somewhere along the way we have fallen down on the job. We aren’t being critical enough about all this data that is getting thrown at us. I see too many just believing the data because it came from a “reputable source,” — a company or an individual we have come to trust. We need to use a more critical eye before we jump on the band wagon of support. More importantly, we must be more curious when using this information to justify adjusting our marketing tactics.”

Kelly is talking about social media ROI in particular, but her points are valid in general.  There is an wide range of data and information available on the Internet, some quite accurate and reliable, while others … not so much.

Before the Internet, when we needed to get data and information on a subject, we used “traditional” information sources such as books, magazines, and published reports.  I remember spending tens of hours at Wharton‘s Lippincott Library in 1992, conducting research for a management paper.  The Internet as we know it now did not exist back then, and I had to spend all that time hunting down relevant articles by checking out paper copies of old business magazines, waiting in line to run Lexis/Nexis queries and sitting at the library, reading industry reports which could not be checked out.  The upside was that I was very comfortable with the quality of all the data and information I was getting.  They were being published by professionals and were most likely double and triple checked by editors.

Nowadays, things are a lot different. No one has to evaluate or approve Internet content before it is made available to the public. Anybody with a computer and an Internet connection can put anything they want onto the Internet.  One would think that this ability would create a sense of skepticism in Internet users, but no, most people are eating it up!

Accepting data without checking its authenticity and sources is bad enough, but it gets even worse:  People are outsourcing their thinking, not even bothering to analyze the data to “understand the relations”, as Bellinger suggested, to get to information.  People accept other people’s analysis at face value, with absolutely no regard to quality or accuracy.  I tried to touch upon this in Distimo’s “Most Popular Social Networking Apps” Study and How NOT to Display Data, which is but one example.  Not to sound too alarmist, but it looks like there is a mass epidemic of “cerebral laziness” out there!

It turns out that Robert Harris of Southern California College, saw this problem way back in 1997.  In his work Evaluating Internet Research Sources, he revealed his CARS Checklist for Information Quality:

“Source evaluation–the determination of information quality–is something of an art. That is, there is no single perfect indicator of reliability, truthfulness, or value. Instead, you must make an inference from a collection of clues or indicators, based on the use you plan to make of your source. If, for example, what you need is a reasoned argument, then a source with a clear, well-argued position can stand on its own, without the need for a prestigious author to support it. On the other hand, if you need a judgment to support (or rebut) some position, then that judgment will be strengthened if it comes from a respected source. If you want reliable facts, then using facts from a source that meets certain criteria of quality will help assure the probability that those facts are indeed reliable.”

The CARS framework consists of qualitative checklists on Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness and Support. While originally focused on internet sources, I think that it applies just as well to print resources, sets an example of critical thinking and provides insight into creation, presentation and application of data and information.  It is a recommended reading of mine for anyone who uses the Internet as a source of data and information.  Here is a summary:

Credibility:  trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organizational support.

Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.

Accuracy: up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy.

Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.

Reasonableness: fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone.

Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.

Support: listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied.

Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).

I will leave you with something I saw on Facebook this week.  While amusing, it is also very sound advice, one that should especially be taken to heart by those of us who always want to get good data and run a good analysis and hopefully reach a level of wisdom that will help us make good decisions, be it in a business setting, or life in general.  Remember: Not everyone out there is an Honest Abe!

Yorum bırakın

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Social Media Teams

In a previous post titled The “Odd New Thing”: Social Media, we talked about “what not to do”, when managing social media for your organization or brand. In Data: The Composition of a Corporate Social Media Team, Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst and partner at Altimeter, tells us “how to do” as he analyzes results from Altimeter’s recent survey to 144 global national corporations with over 1000 employees to see how today’s corporate social media teams break down. It turns out, the average size of a corporate social media team is ELEVEN people, excluding agencies, consultants and researchers.

Altimeter’s study discovered a trend of four key groups at corporations:

  1. Leadership Team: Focused on the overall program ROI, drive business results
  2. Business Unit Facing: Work inside the company to get executives and teams of other business units on board
  3. Market Facing: Serve as a go-between to balance the needs of customers and the corporation
  4. Program Management: Run programs at the corporate level, reporting and brand monitoring, manage developer teams to get systems to work

Owyang also makes predictions for the future of social media teams:

“In the future, these teams will likely shrink, or evolve into customer experience teams. Know that the corporate social strategist will work themselves out of a job.  Why?  Business units will be able to operate their own programs without excessive oversight, following program guidelines, and using pre-set best practices and sanctioned software systems.  With that said, a core team will always be required, to coordinate the enterprise, but we predict this will evolve into a customer experience team.”

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

The “Odd New Thing”: Social Media

I see many Turkish executives (although I have a hunch that they are not alone) treat social media as the “odd new thing” they do not really understand but feel the need to be part of.  We have been through this at least once before, when the Internet Revolution came to be.  Most executives were excited but they were also afraid, because they did not know how to go about incorporating the Internet into their business.  So most of them went out, grabbed a recent, tech-savvy college graduate, and if anyone asked they said they were taking care of the “internet minternet*” business of their organization.  Nowadays, history sort of repeats itself and we see a bunch of young people who have cool titles such as “Social Media Specialist” or “Social Media Strategist” showing up at local firms to take care of the “social media” business of the organization.

Same as the Internet, social media is part of a whole, not the “odd new thing” that can be spun off and managed independently.  Just as we cannot separate Internet from the various aspects of our business today, we cannot really think of social media independent of a coherent Marketing or Brand Strategy.  Sure, one cannot successfully manage a marketing function if one does not understand the tools, but without a high level vision and understanding of the overall communication strategy, a tool such as social media is not a tool, but a toy.

Hollis Thomases, in her controversial article 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, lists reasons why the easy way to handle social media may not be the best way.

“Just because you don’t understand social media doesn’t mean you should forfeit all common sense and hire your niece, nephew, or any other recent college grad (say, your best friend’s sister-in-law’s kid) because “they’re really good on Facebook.”

* “Internet minternet” is a Turkish phrase which means “Internet, et cetera.”

2 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH