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!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Company Culture at HP creates an Integrated Social Media Program

Part one of an "interview" with HP's Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson is a the Web 2.0 Strategic lead for HP's Imaging and Printing group. HP is one of the brands that I benchmarked for blogging best practices in 2005, so I was curious to find out what they are doing today with social media. Tac has been a student of social media since back in the 90s when we used to call this stuff "Community." He truly loves his work, saying:

If I wasn't getting paid to do this, I'd be getting in trouble for doing it too much at work.
- Tac Anderson

Does HP have the Three "Success Indicators" For Social Media?
As I have previously blogged, there are three factors that are present in Enterprise Companies that are successful in the use of social media:
1. A top-down driven approach
2. A robust internal community
3. A company culture that encourages openness and trust.

At HP the hierarchy is flat, with small, empowered work teams and managers who control their own budget. There are 3 business units, Tac works in Imaging and Printing (IPG). Tac's BU is advanced in their use use of social media, mostly because their executive Vice President was a key driver of Web 2.0 technologies inside HP. So, just like we saw at Cisco, Intel and SAP, there was a top-down driven approach at HP

Tac described a strong internal community at HP, with hundreds of blogs, and an Internal Wiki called "Pligg" (like "Digg.) There are many more social media tools used internally than externally.

The motivated, empowered workforce at HP creates a culture that is conducive to embracing social media. The business units are independent of each other; there is no Corporate Social Media Team. There is a lot of social-media-related activity at HP, but it's more about integrating Social Media into existing Corporate Communications or product launches.

A Comparison to Dell's Unified Corporate Approach
It's critical to understand this company culture if you want to understand HP's approach to Social Media. It's different than -- for example -- Dell, which has a unified approach to marketing and social media. (All the Tweeters use "@Dell" as part of their name.) But let's remember that at Dell, someone wrote a blank check to get the company out of "Dell Hell." And Comcast, now the darling of every Social Media presentation, had to do something to erase the memory of the technician sleeping on the couch, didn't they? Does it really take a major Brand Disaster to get Enterprise companies on the Social Media bandwagon?

How Did Social Media at HP Evolve?
HP's social media program was originally driven out of marketing, and began with a handful of corporate blogs. HP Communities
Seems to be the "official" HP Community, complete with employee-contributed video that you can vote on, podcasts, a link to the idea lab and to the "Wet Paint" wiki, which is a community for members to show off their creativity. And 50 "official" corporate blogs.

Then there are 60 HP "Employee Business Blogs" that are hosted on HP Platform, written by various business groups. A few executives even have their personal blogs. The number of blogs is growing weekly, recently they launched their first foreign language blog.

But the real jaw dropper is that there are links off to the employee's PERSONAL blogs. I love this! My legal team would keel over if we tried to do this. But HP's Legal team was apparently satisfied with the following disclaimer.

How Does HP Mitigate the Risks of Blogging?
1. The HP Blogging Code of Conduct is posted front and center on the Community site.
2. HP has an organization called the "Core Community Council" that reviews blog applications and approves them. But they don't follow up or monitor the bloggers in any way.
3. Legal advises bloggers on how to protect themselves from risk, but unless it's an obvious violation, they don't interfere.

So, in other words, employees are trusted to not act like idiots. As Tac puts it:

"We hire the right people and we let them do their job"
-- Tac Anderson

Nicely done, HP. Your unique company culture seems to work pretty well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thou Shalt Blog and Tweet and Google Thyself

And the Lord of Social Media said "Go forth and blog and tweet and link to others, and ye shall rise from certain obscurity." And I did. And it was good.

I've been googling myself for eight years with very little satisfaction. I never ranked above the fourth or fifth page in Google. In fact, if any old friends tried to Google me, they probably thought that I ended up as a motivational speaker.

I don't run marathons or do anything newsworthy. The other Karen Snyders have outshone me in every way: I get their email, I'm given their prescription glasses, my address is never the first one listed at the pharmacy and the local health club.


"What has changed?" you might ask. Well, I started this blog a couple of months ago. That bumped me up a bit (maybe page three?) But then, my Twitter friend Jeff Moriarty from Intel linked to my blog from his.

And lo, and behold, when you search on "Karen Snyder" it is I who appear on the first page of Google Results. If I wasn't a believer before in the power of social media, I am now.