Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tac Anderson: Measuring ROI, B-to-B Marketing, and the Role of the Strategist

(Second of a two-part article).

Tac Anderson is a the Web 2.0 Strategic lead for HP's Imaging and Printing group. We met through some Gia Lyons Twitter matchmaking.

We discussed a wide variety of topics, including the types of campaigns that HP has run. One successful campaign sponsored by HP was Project Direct, a contest on YouTube for aspiring directors to upload their movies. The subtle HP branding points users to HP Creative Studio, which allows users to create their own stickers and posters, in keeping with the "self expression" theme. I did not ask Tac what kind of metrics they used to measure the success of that campaign, but he did share some of his guidelines for measuring the ROI of a campaign.

Measuring the ROI of a Campaign
"Let's face it: there are not many best practices for Social Media and very few benchmarks. We all need to be open to learning as we go."
-- Tac Anderson
Tac likes to experiment, interact with people and see where it goes. So far he has been pleasantly surprised by the response rates. One successful tactic he mentioned was to sponsor a prominent blog, by working with Federated Media. Here are Tac's guiding principles for measuring the ROI of a campaign:
Determine the GOAL of the initiative. Tac repeatedly said how important it is to agree VERY early on on the purpose of the campaign, and to get buy-off on the stated goals. (He spoke with the conviction of someone who has been burned by this before.)

Once you've settled on your goal, stick with it and don't waiver. For example, if a campaign's stated and agreed-upon goal is to raise awareness, don't allow it to be judged later on by its ability to generate leads.

Once you've agreed on the purpose of the campaign, and the desired outcome, you can figure out what you want to measure. For example, let's say the goal of your campaign is to raise awareness.
"How do we measure awareness? Are we going to measure online share of voice? Count hits? How about the level of engagement? What does 'engagement' mean to you? Comments? Links? Mentions? Pick a metric to use and then stick with it"
Tips for B-to-B Marketers
Tac said it's important to remind people that marketing (whether it's "b-to-b" or "b-to-c") is driven by consumer examples.

1. Figure out what you are trying to say and then figure out what your target audience cares about Ask yourself honestly "Does this makes sense?" Do your homework. Don't get distracted by the latest "shiny object," which may not be the right medium for your message. A basic blog might serve your needs fine.

2. Do research on your audience: how do they like to get their information. Is it e-mail? Do they read blogs? Use Facebook? Watch video on YouTube? Feed them the information in their preferred format.

3. Conduct Yourself Appropriately, whether you host the community or join someone else's:
"You can choose to host your own party -- even be exclusive with your invite list. But if you decide to join someone ELSE'S party, be polite. Don't get drunk and out of line.

4. Don't think like a big Corporation. Even if you have a big budget, don't be afraid to leverage the free social media tools like Yahoo Pipes and Feedburner.

And of course we talked about our own jobs. This is a topic that I also discussed with Kelly Feller and Jeff Moriarty of Intel:

The Role of the Social Media Strategist:

-- Education: For many of your colleagues, you may be their only resource into the world of social meda. Post questions and case studies internally -- and translate that information into actionable intelligence for project managers and product managers.

-- Internal consulting: serve as a resource for people so they can come and ask specific questions.

-- Be the Periscope: Feed ideas to people, and keep them informed on what is happening in the world of Social Media. (e.g., "Company 'x' did this, here is what happened and how they responded.)

Thanks again to Tac for all of your time. You are one cool dude. I hope we get a chance to chat again soon!

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