For this post, I looked back at key people, experiences and ideas that were influential in 2011. I can’t mention everyone due to space but know they are appreciated. And I won’t get into global issues or big predictions because many other experts are covering those topics. But I came up with 12 tips that I think will help you or someone you know in 2012.
Customer experience management contributors
The first half of my 2011 was dedicated to Sitecore as a former VP in Mill Valley, California; it was a meaningful time. Since both Ektron and my previous employer have many things in common like .Net, web content management (WCM) software, cloud deployment options with the Windows Azure Platform, implementation partners and support for customer experience management (CXM) strategies and results -- it’s appropriate to mention them in this post.
Tip #1: There are good reasons to consider a number of WCM solution providers with similar value propositions. I believe Ektron provides the best CXM enablement strategy for customers and their partners with legacy and new technologies, needs and relationships. Think integration for CXM results in 2012+ as discussed with Stephen Powers of Forrester Research, Inc.
Brian Solis, Gary Vaynerchuk, Josh Bernoff, Rachel Happe and Seth Godin
I read analysts, authors and bloggers in our space daily, especially those who cover community, social media and strategic marketing topics. There are many experts out there but Brian, Gary, Josh, Rachel and Seth were influential in my professional decisions and business strategies in 2011. Gary’s Thank You Economy book is less about how to tweet and more about cultural shifts needed to humanize business. Brian’s new book, The End of Business as Usual, is packed with research, ideas and insights from the field. Josh Bernoff’s Empowered book is a reminder of the power of others and how to support them for your cause. Rachel and the Community Roundtable are a great resource when thinking about community strategy and tactics. And Seth, with his quirky advice and books, is always a good source of nuggets.
Tip #2: Find passionate, talented people who research and cover your professional space and tune into what they say. Support them and your success by deeply understanding and sharing their point of view.
Nate Elliott and Rajiv Parikh
Last April I attended Forrester’s Marketing Forum in San Francisco and connected with Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, regarding his ‘Interactive Brand Ecosystem’ research. Nate’s point of view is relevant for anyone concerned with optimizing website, social media, mobile, email, search and traditional media channels for our real-time, interactive environment. The research also aligns with owned, earned and paid media thinking that is foundational in all of my planning and execution at Ektron. Rajiv Parikh, CEO of Position2 in Palo Alto and the mastermind behind Brand Monitor -- a tool/service I used extensively in 2011 -- was key for monitoring social channels and making business and communication decisions with real-time media analytics.
Tip #3: You have an interactive brand ecosystem that is growing in terms of size, real-time intelligence and importance to your organization. Your website is in the center of this activity and other channels are critical to integrate, staff and support; shift more resources from traditional to interactive channels.
Chef Nona, Dan Oliver and Steve Jobs
2011 was an ongoing reminder of how life should be lived -- doing what you love, doing it well and rising to the occasion when an opportunity presents itself. While attending the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in Los Angles last March, I talked with Chef Nona about her success strategy as the winner of Hell’s Kitchen season 8. Two months later, I connected with Dan Oliver -- a former CBS TV colleague earlier in my career -- and we talked about his ‘Beer Guy’ niche that has turned into a thriving business and source of enjoyment. And then there is Mr. Jobs. His life’s work at Apple, along with dedicated staff that supported his vision, should be an inspiration for us all whether you’re an Apple fan or not.
Tip #4: Life is short with many twists and turns. Always be true to yourself and others, and do what you love no matter what!
John Phillips and team
I met John in 2010 when our work and play interests came together. Men’s professional tennis was the intersection but ultimately it was John’s attitude, digital vision and work ethic that drew me in to help him and his team. When my work situation changed in May, John was the first person I called to update given some prior commitments and our collaborative relationship. Even in the midst of change, the 125th Wimbledon Championships -- an experience of a lifetime -- soon became a reality after many years of wanting to attend. And there were many pleasant surprises while in London. John and the ATP’s generosity will never be forgotten.
Tip #5: Look out for the success of others first, based on shared interests, and you’ll be surprised at how others look out for you.
Aaron Kahlow, Pookie Martin and Erik Thompson
I’ve been a fan of ABC Shark Tank for the past two years and thought about auditioning for just as long. So when I had some free time on my hands and thinking about what to do next, I chose two simultaneous career tracks: 1) focus on the job search and 2) audition for ABC Shark Tank in Dallas with a web solution and patent. At different stages of my ABC Shark Tank process, I received help from three key people that shared one thing in common. They are entrepreneurs and support other entrepreneurs. I know Aaron from prior Online Marketing Summit work and Pookie has helped me with writing projects over the years. I met Erik in Dallas (he was #1 in the audition line) and we teamed up on the fly. I can’t share where things ended up with Shark Tank just yet but rest assured the experience will resurface in 2012. The new season starts on Friday, January 20th.
Tip #6: Technology entrepreneurs (also creators) are critical to our economic growth and social prosperity for years to come. Seek them out, collaborate with and invest in them in 2012.
Greg Hembrough and team
I drive a Volvo sedan and think it’s a good car and owner experience. Volvo’s safety record and contemporary design got me to the local dealership a few years ago. But I’m impressed with the Volvo experience on the road, in the service department and online. I was asked by Greg Hembrough's team in July to test drive the new S60 R-Design in Napa as part of a national campaign to promote the R-Design. The test drive experience (digital and in-person) was impressive and I blogged about it with no financial gain for doing so. The blog video has more than 5,000 views (as of March 2012) and generated comments from other drivers and Volvo fans.
Tip #7: Companies with good products and services should invest in ‘experiential marketing’ strategies (digital and in-person) to differentiate themselves, retain happy customers and create influential word of mouth. Orchestration across channels and functions are key.
Ken Fadner, Hope Frank and Steve Latham
July was a back-to-reality-month after Wimbledon and the ABC Shark Tank audition, and what better way than with MediaPost’s OMMA Metrics event in San Francisco. MediaPost events, led by Ken Fadner, always deliver and I walked away knowing more about the value of analytics and how to become a more intelligent marketer; even in our ‘Splinternet’ environment. The good news is analytics and reporting are getting easier with products and services from companies like Webtrends, Encore Media Metrics, PR Newswire and Position2. I connected with Hope Frank of Webtrends and her colleague, Eric Rickson and interviewed Steve Latham of Encore. It was an eye-opening event.
Tip #8: Regardless of a marketer’s role or seniority -- analytics is a muscle to develop in order to influence budgets, strategic decisions and higher paying roles. Dive in with vigor.
Tom Wentworth and Bill Rogers
While at the 125th Wimbledon Championships, Tom (Ektron’s CMO) tweeted about my experience on June 20th. Although we were familiar with each other’s work in the industry, this was the first time Tom and I communicated via social media or any other method. We exchanged direct messages while I was in London and the conversation continued with direct messages and email for two months before interviewing via WebEx with Tom, Bill (Ektron’s CEO) and other members of the team in August. An offer was made and accepted and we all connected in Portland on September 11th for partner meetings. My role was announced at MediaPost’s OMMA Global NY on September 26th. Enthusiasm for Ektron and our Global Community Practice (GCP) strategy goes beyond social media and securing a good job. I really like what we’re doing as a company to support customer experience management with WCM and many technology partners. And what we’re doing is touched on in this recent ZDNet article and webinar with Tom on connecting content to revenue.
Tip #9: Don’t underestimate the power and ROI of social media reach, engagement and earned media. Back up all community/social media efforts with response, relevant content and value for your target audience.
Salim Hemdani, Carol Rozwell, Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald
Now into October, a few new encounters got me thinking about how all organizations find themselves needing to continuously innovate – especially with the Internet/web – to remain appealing to digital consumers and competitive in their markets. Salim Hemdani of Razorfish presented at a Developer Meetup in San Francisco and we talked about his point of view. Next, Gartner Symposium/ITXpo in Orlando; I attended two sessions about the ‘Social Organization’ with Carol Rozwell, Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald. Armed with fresh thoughts and prior experience, I gave a webinar entitled, ‘Your Social Organization: Do You Have a Meaningful Plan for 2012?
Tip #10: Continuous innovation with the Internet/web is the new norm. Organizations that apply a collaborative or social approach with purpose are more likely to succeed. This applies to marketing as well as product management, customer service and financial performance.
Many Synergy and Gilbane contributors
Winding down the year with two significant events, Ektron’s Synergy Conference and Gilbane Boston. On one hand, Synergy was the collection of all things Ektron and key partners for a sold-out audience in Las Vegas including customers, partners and special guests. Keynotes, workshops, multiple tracks, networking, entertainment and a lot of useful content for 2012 -- most of it now available online via PPTs and recorded webinars. On the other hand, Gilbane Boston provided the same sort of event benefits as Synergy but with a cross-section of industry experts, vendors and practitioners. Topics like big data, CXM, content marketing, social analytics, multichannel integration, user centered design, collaboration, etc. Too much to summarize here in this post but certainly influential, and I recommend visiting Ektron’s YouTube channel, Synergy and Gilbane sites for useful content. Special thanks to Nicole Denil, Jeffrey Frey, Mustafa Muhsin, Tony White, Julio Zaldivar, Sarah Skerik, Jeff Cram, Stephen Powers, Scott Liewehr, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. You can also access related PPTs via Ektron's SlideShare.
Tip #11: If you’re in a content management, digital marketing, web development or strategy role, you’re fortunate with many opportunities and challenges to keep you busy in 2012. Tap expertise in the community, like from people mentioned in this post, to help you achieve your goals.
If you don’t know who Jeffrey is as a former Kodak CMO, his appearances on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump, his best-selling book ‘The Mirror Test’ or his active Twitter and Facebook presence -- now’s a good time to get acquainted. Jeffrey and I met last May when we talked about his first book and ABC Shark Tank. I’ve been actively staying in touch since and we connected last week in San Francisco to talk about his new book called, ‘Running the Gauntlet.’ I’ve read it and like the content from a change agent perspective (we should all be change agents) and I also admire his use of interactive tools to help make his thought leadership come alive and useful for any business, marketing or technology leader. Disclosure, Kodak is an Ektron customer.
Tip #12: Watch our ‘Web Innovation Now’ conversation on video, share with others and help your team successfully run the gauntlet in 2012. Watch for more posts focused on RTG.
It’s a wrap!
That was a long post but there’s much to summarize from a busy year. For real-time updates and actionable details, follow us on Twitter (Ektron and creatorbase). Connect with me via LinkedIn if you are an Ektron customer, partner, developer, or industry leader and you’re interested in learning more about Ektron’s Global Community Practice initiatives.
Last but not least, the Ektron team and I are determined to help you be more successful in 2012. We’ve made recent investments and we’re excited about a number of programs that will be released soon. Cheers to you and your team’s success in the next scene!