With the end of 2009 just around the corner, I'm driven to think about the major trends that shaped our industry this past year. One of the biggest shifts in the marketing community has been wider adoption of social media tools. While we aren't advising any of our clients to move entirely away from leveraging traditional media, we are seeing strong results from a strategic combination of both 'old' and 'new' media.
Knowing many of you may want to learn more about how to balance and complement traditional media with that of social media, we've dedicated this issue's column to just that topic – and hope you enjoy it!
We would love to hear your feedback as well – please email your comments to me at email@example.com.
I hope you enjoy this issue!
Social Media vs. Traditional Media:
Why You Don't Have to Choose, and How Merging 'Old & New' Tactics Can Provide the Most Effective and Measurable Campaigns Yet
According to an October 19, 2009 Business Week article — "Luddites of the World, Relax!"— people have always doubted the validity or need for newer forms of communications. For example, Socrates "objected to writing, in part because this 'invention' eliminated the need to exercise the memory." Also, worried about the rise of the telegraph in the 1840's, Henry David Thoreau scoffed: "Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." And in the 1870's, Samuel Morse, the telegraph inventor, declined to buy the patent rights for the next new thing, the telephone, as it provided "no permanent record of a conversation."
Today, some people may still question the potential for social networking to transform the way businesses communicate. But knowing a little about our past resistance to 'new' things, I think it is fair to say our technology revolution is charging full steam ahead and the computer revolution is continuing to impact mass communications, especially for marketers. But before you throw out your traditional media plans, consider how you can merge the old with the new.
"New Vs. Traditional:" Why You Shouldn't Have to Choose, and Why Balancing the Two Maximizes Key Marketing Results
With the rising power of social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, we've seen a variety of approaches to incorporating social media into the PR mix from both our clients and our peers. Some want to go completely "new media" with the social route, some still hold a print publication placement as the highest prize and there are those who have started to mix social media with traditional media.
In our opinion, you don't have to choose between one or the other. We happen to think new media outreach needs traditional media results to help a company jumpstart their online networking endeavors.
We're seeing some of the most successful and measurable PR campaign results from those that balance and synergistically use traditional media with social media. Here are a few case-in-point examples and easy steps you can replicate for the same results:
- Share links to online industry trade publication articles (traditional media placements) as points of discussion in LinkedIn Groups and on Twitter or post your own reaction to the story in your blog. This can be an especially effective PR tool if you authored or were quoted in the article since being published in a magazine gives it an extra layer of editorial credibility.
- Case-in-Point: Gary Palgon, VP of product management for secure eBusiness solutions provider nuBridges, regularly authors and is quoted in articles on data security. He proactively posts links to these stories to his followers on Twitter, and as discussion items of his industry's latest issues/trends in LinkedIn Groups. Several results have included being contacted through LinkedIn by potential partners, end-users and customers; as well as being asked to contribute to presentations at industry events through the power of LinkedIn's social networking technology. However, the points of interest for these individuals to contact Gary came from the links he provided – many of which connect back to the traditional media sources he was published in as a trusted and established expert.
- Tap the power of microblogging for sharing and receiving instant updates at industry events. The next time your company exhibits at a trade show, assign one person the role of shooting out regular updates via Twitter. These can include tactics like:
- Literal "Viral" Media: Tweet about a great discussion you or an executive from your company had with a prominent blogger or reporter. It is common for reporters to follow each others' posts via Twitter and decide which companies to meet based on who's the most 'tweeted about' in real-time by other reporters.
- Report from the Event: Share observations from panels and presentations you attend with industry peers, co-workers and customers who couldn't attend in person.
- Stay in the Know: Not sure what party to attend after the show floor closes? Or where the industry's VIP will be next? Be the first to know by following the event's discussions on Twitter.
"Marketers know that a series of touches consisting of quality outbound calls, email, voicemail messages and direct mail is a very effective way to reach and convert leads to revenue. What we are now seeing is that results from these more traditional touch types can be enhanced by the inclusion of integrated social media," said McDade. "Social media tools are invaluable in reaching prospects online and establishing a rapport long before a direct meeting takes place."
In business, social networking is not really "new media" meant to replace everything that came before it so much as it is another route to connect, market, discuss and sell by. If you use it wisely and balance the many traditional forms of marketing with the new interactive powers of social media, you have a winning campaign that doesn't leave any stone unturned (whether that prospect is found on LinkedIn or is a diehard print reader!).
- Actively weave in social media to standard communications like e-mail, phone conversations and business cards. Doing so can help you close a deal or get one started. Here are a few ideas:
- Maximize the real-estate of your email signature by listing below your contact info hyperlinks to story headlines you've published or to your latest press release.
- Close out phone conversations to sales calls by asking if you can connect with the contact via your LinkedIn network. Then, regularly tap that contact on LinkedIn with relevant content, news and information.
- Include your direct Twitter URL and LinkedIn profile on your business card (along with all the standard contact info).
- Case-in-Point: According to Dan McDade, president and CEO of prospect development firm PointClear, "social media tools are providing new ways to conduct sales lead generation programs and effectively nurture prospects into ready buyers." PointClear currently uses social media to reach and establish dialog with its own B2B sales prospects.
Excel4apps is a provider of best-in-class Excel based reporting and budgeting software for Oracle users. Its award winning GL Wand and Budget Wand products help Oracle financial professionals save time by delivering accurate and secure information in the familiar Excel environment. Carabiner's public relations campaign includes strategic content creation and media relations to raise the profile of Excel4apps within a targeted audience of ERP system users.
SecureAware from Lightwave is a patent-pending Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) system that provides a single collaborative workflow designed to international standards to manage multiple compliance mandates, create policy management efficiencies, conduct security awareness training and reduce business risks.
Founded in 2003, Oversight Systems, Inc. is a privately-held, Atlanta-based software company whose continuous transaction monitoring solutions help Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries solve problems related to governance, risk and compliance. In September of 2009, Oversight was ranked 7th on Forbes' List of "America's Most Promising Companies".
Oversight Systems Ranks Seventh on Forbes' List of "America's Most Promising Companies"
Forbes teamed with The Venture Alliance, an advisor to early stage companies, looking beyond the top-line, examining such indicators as market size, management experience, intellectual property and ability to hit product-development benchmarks to determine "America's Most Promising Companies". Oversight was chosen for the prestigious list of 20 businesses based on its potential for future growth.
Digital Element Opens London Office
Digital Element has set up shop in London to handle the increased demand for its IP Intelligence and geolocation technology in Europe.
According to VP Frank Bobo, Europe is the ideal market for IP Intelligence, given it is made up of 47 independent countries where people speak more than 200 different languages. Bobo says Europe represents a very viable market for IP Intelligence, allowing companies to localize promotions, products and website content in ways that are relevant to specific audiences in specific geographic locations.
Digital Element's growing list of European customers includes Adconion Media Group, AdJug, Guardian Newspapers, Siemens, Specific Media UK and The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).
What We've Been Up To
Bootstrapping is Making a Comeback
Venture Atlanta '09 was even better attended this year than last – for me that's a good sign! Eighty percent of the presenting companies are already growing and generating decent revenues. Organizers weighted the mix purposefully so as to show VCs deals more in line with current requirements. More and more we're hearing that VCs are looking to help a company accelerate growth, rather than help to incubate a new idea. There was a showcase for pre-revenue companies and I was impressed with the diversity of great ideas there. Most of these folks know that they are more likely to find help from Angels or Super-Angels.
One thing I've noticed over the past 12 months is a return to "bootstrapping." There is a growing percentage of startups doing it the old-fashioned way – they build a product using founder funds and sweat equity, hurry and win a few customers and then survive on the revenue stream. It's a slower process, but in many ways it's better. Products get into customer's hands quicker. Feedback is almost instant and refinements quickly follow. Company ownership remains in the hands of the founders at least until the time arrives when outside capital is needed to fuel the rocket. I'm optimistic about the state of invention and entrepreneurism and that's exciting!
What's New in Online Video?
Carabiner Communications' Director of New Media (and filmmaker by night), Kathy Cabrera, recently attended a viral video and social media training workshop for filmmakers and creative artists. Presented by the GEORGIA BIG PICTURE CONFERENCE and led by Amani Channel, the session presented new ideas for what makes videos viral, why going "viral" to a large audience if it's not your target niche audience can be irrelevant for your bottom line, and other really helpful tips.
What you need to know:
Need fresh ideas for your company's next video?
- When you hit 100,000 views on YouTube, you get the chance to be invited to their partner program, which helps you monetize your content.
- YouTube, Blip TV and Vimeo are the three most important video sites. And, once you post your content it's just as important to socially bookmark it with Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, etc.
- Once you have created individual accounts on all the major video sites (Blip TV, YouTube, and Vimeo), Tube Mogul is a great site that allows you to post it once and then the service auto-syndicates it to all those sites (plus others). It will also track stats for you all in one place.
- YouTube accepts all types of content, including that which is “questionable” (although they have age requirements to view some content if it falls into that category). The site Vimeo is actually known for being family friendly and only accepts G-rated related content.
- Keywords for the purposes of tagging, the video summary, and title are extremely important for ensuring videos are found in search engines. You should always link back to your website in your video description.
- Every blog should have a “share this” feature, which is very easy to add via WordPress, Blogger or other widgets. Adding this button allows for one-click sharing of videos on your readers’ favorite social networks.
Contact us and tell us the story you want to share on video!
Carabiner Spotlight: Dana Cogan
Dana Cogan: Sports-Minded Mom Keeps Busy in the Office and on the Field
Dana enjoying a family vacation in London, England while staying "plugged in" to work.
Carabiner VP Dana Cogan is a busy person. When she's not setting strategic direction and supervising PR programs for the agency's clients, chances are you can find her at a local ball field, cheering on her two young sons.
A former high school athlete, Dana is a big believer in sports as a way to build character and develop strong social skills while staying physically fit. In fact, Dana only recently hung up her own cleats, retiring from adult softball to devote more of her after-hours time to her children's sports and school activities. "At one point, I was 'sports mom' for four boys' teams and 'room mom' for two classes – I go, go, go basically all the time," she says.
During her career, Dana has garnered press for clients in such leading publications as BusinessWeek and The New York Times, and also received a High-Tech Campaign Award from the American Marketing Association. She was previously VP of client services at Blanc & Otus Public Relations, where she set direction and managed multiple account teams.
In addition to sports, Dana has another love: adventure and travel. She and her family are known for their regular trips that last year included two separate journeys to Europe. In fact, Dana has become an expert at working from remote locations while continuing to successfully manage and deliver superior client services. Last fall, WomenEntrepreneur magazine published an article by Dana on "Five Rules for 'Working' Vacations."
Dana resides in Duluth, Ga., with her husband, Danny, her sons, Michael and Jess, and the family cat, Sophie. She has a B.A. degree in Journalism from Georgia State University.