OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: BlogHer Business - The New Digital Organization

BlogHer Original Post

Welcome to the liveblog of the BlogHer Business '10 panel: The New
Digital Organization. This panel starts at 2:45pm and ends at 4:00 pm
Eastern time on August 5, 2010.

Keep refreshing this page as the panel takes place for more liveblogging!

INFO:  Who owns digital strategy?

These days it can be the PR Agency, the Media Agency or the Digital Agency.
It depends on the expertise you have in-house. BlogHer Sr. VP of
Advertising Sales Debbie Wogan moderates a discussion among Andy
Markowitz, Director of Global Digital Strategy at GE, Stephanie Agresta,
EVP of Digital Strategy and Social Media at Porter Novelli, Dawn
Winchester, EVP and Chief Marketing Services Officer at R/GA, and others
who have either bolstered or transformed their teams to become
digitally-focused.

Learn how these groups:

-Hire. What competencies are they requiring to make their teams competitive?

-Organize. How have they structured their company/department to take on
digital strategy and play well with other departments/agencies?

-Work with their clients—be it a brand or an internal client, to build consensus around their plans.

**************************************

Welcome to the panelists.

Debbie: Is there a formula for digital strategy?

Directed
at Andy, "How about for GE?"

AM: It's not about laying claim to
certain areas of land. You see agencies be agnostic in their approach
you see clients try to take the same approach. There hasn't been a
convergence on service level side. There's no formula for doing this
right.

DW: At RJ we have an approach, "campaigns and platforms." The digital space can help you with campaign needs but if you're not using it to build relationships, then
you're missing out. That's our general approach. As we think about
"social shopping" for example, we think about long term platforms built
around that activity.

Debbie: Do you always try to fit a social strategy into a client's digital strategy?

SA: It's very dependent on how sophisticated the client thinks they
are about social media and digital. Every agency will tell you about
their planning process. You should have one ultimate strategy and there are digital systems that should flow from that strategy. But it's all about target audience. Tactics derive from there.

AM: There's social media and there's social media marketing.  Really what you're
trying to do is create a currency that people want to pass along to
other people. We get asked "What's our social media strategy," and we say, "It's an integrated approach."

AM to the audience: "What's the barrier that you guys face?"

From the audience: Organizational readiness and who owns it.

From the audience: There needs to be some
accountability.

AM to the panelist: How do you help your clients transform their way out of this set up?

SA: A lot of times, that is a mandate that needs to come from above. 
It's up to the agency executives to structure themselves from above.

AM: People look for magic bullets. What are the magic things to say to get the budget you need, etc?
One thing is we've tried to use data visualization. Sometimes in two or
three slides you can make your point. Graphically it jumps out at you.

DW: Clients have different cultures. Some cultures respond
well with data visualization but sometimes a word from above is the key.
We perform better with a strong client.

AM: Our CMO understands this and is very
progressive about it. There's almost nothing as good as that. I don't
really face that issue corporately.

Debbie:  How are you selling social media today?

SA: 
We rely on ROI and metrics.  Using those tools is about budget, but in
terms of selling, we do a lot of conversation monitoring and then check
the data for influencers and then study the numbers.

DW:  We're
also seeing some success with these influencer councils.  There's a
business value to be in a relationship with highly engaged, influencer consumers. 

SA:  Beyond marketing, when you look at
customer service, for example ComCast has expanded their customer
service based on their consumers.

AM:  At Kraft the
customer service group incorporated customer monitoring and listening to
deal customer service in a better way.  It's a very valuable tool.

SA:  Customer service is on
the front lines and often they have a lot of passion for the product and are a
great resource to help with community management online.

Debbie: 
With all this feedback, are there any
examples of a marketing campaign change based on that feedback?

AM: We
have heard some things via feedback that have been good insights.  But
usually not to change in campaign.  From a listening standpoint, most
companies aren't sophisticated enough to change things within
campaign.

SA:  We are less campaign focused but we have community
managers on staff who function on behalf of the brand so in that
scenario we would make adjustments to things, or messaging, but less
advertising driven.

DW:  It's common to do a lot of changes on a website on how an application works based on what we hear. 

Debbie: 
How do you deal with Twitter feeds and Google Alerts and seeing
feedback, negative, positive?  Do brand marketers say, help?  Where it's
kind of a frenzy because of so much information?

AM:  Some of the
best things we've done is to talk people off a ledge.  The art of
restraint is the best way to go here.  It only take one bad seed to
make it very bad for your brand.  Listen and watch. Observe and record.

DW:  You don't want to put fuel on the fire.

AM: 
Brand people who've gone on a blog and not in a transparent way and
they get called on it, dealing with that can be difficult.

SA:  Do a search for "Social Media Guidelines" to get your legal started on how
corporations are dealing with it.  The culture is a critical part of the
company.  Anyone can sign a form, but understanding and believing policies and practices, it is
a culture that has to exist more and more. 

For example
community management.  We have to say right up front that someone is an
employee of our company and not with the brand.

SA:  Digital
training is very important.  IT and legal, get them in the room and make
them part of the team that is truly committed to this.

********************************************************************************************

Debbie:  With all the new media, how has that changed your companies?

SA:  It's a matter of investing in the right people.  It's an ongoing process.  People who have true digital backgrounds but also have agency experience.

AM:  Social marketing is a microcosm for a lot of stuff, for other things that came along that was crap.  But social marketing can't be underestimated because it's getting people to do the work for you.  We're marketing in a social world.  Over the longer term, all marketers are going to have to have social expertise.

SA:  It really shouldn't be about the individual but teams. 

AM:  Practical realities, everyone has to do more with less.  But if I'm on Facebook and I want to talk to someone from GE appliances, I want to talk to someone from GE appliances. 

Debbie:  Stephanie how are you training these representatives to have a brand voice?

SA:  It has to be in conjunction with the client.  It's labor intensive.  It's listening to what's currently going on and then developing content.

DW:  It's a pretty quick kind of feedback.  As we develop deeper contact experiences on social media, it's important to do it with the same vigor and creativity.  Understanding what the consumer is looking for and what their needs are.

SA:  Also what's entertaining.  Gillette has Derek Jeter on your Facebook page. You don't need huge research teams to know people like Derek Jeter.  Every brand needs to say something every day, hourly sometimes.  If you don't produce content every day then your community is not going to be interested.

DW:  Well, not necessarily.  Not for us.

Audience Comment:  On Facebook you can see who's hiding your feeds so you know when you're getting too loud.

AM:  Fast, free, cheap.  That's Starbucks approach.  Social marketing is the new CRN.  It's relationship management.  It may not always be daily or hourly but that's what it needs to be.

Thank you.

(Live-Blogging Note:  Many of these comments are para-phrased and not direct quotes)

Meanwhile, check out more BlogHer '10-related posts:

Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video.. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.

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