Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Worthwhile Articles about B2B and Social Media

Every once in a while, we meet a prospective client who is unsure whether their company, always a B2B tech company, should engage in social media.

Often, they tell us, their series customers aren't engaged in social media.

However, according to Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff, "Parametric Technology Corp., a company that makes product development software, found in a survey that more than 80% of its customers were consuming social content. This helped persuade the corporate executives that its customers were ready for a community." Check out his article, "Four social tech tipsfor b2b professionals."

In "Your social marketing strategy needs some big ideas," another Forrester analyst, Jeff Ernst, made a key point about using social media as part of a thought leadership:
This is a great opportunity for you to use social media to reach and engage potential buyers early in their problem-solving process and start to build a trusted relationship with them, so they're more likely to consider your company when they do enter a buying process. But you won't do it by tweeting product announcements.
Why? Business buyers don't “buy” your product or service; they “buy into” your perspective and approach to solving their problems. To attract these folks to your company and engage them in a conversation, you need to share big ideas and compelling positions on the issues your buyers face, and establish your business as a thought leader in your market.
We've got a B2B client that has recently started a thought leadership program via social media, and they're finding that they've started reaching other major thinkers in their space -- and are helping achieve the "buy into: their approach.

Check out the two articles -- they're worth reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Check out "Rate this Article" in Wired

I really liked Chris Colin's article, "Rate This Article: What’s Wrong with the Culture of Critique."

He makes the point that we now review the reviews we read. At the end of all Amazon's reviews, it says, "Help other customers find the most helpful reviews. Was this review helpful to you?"

Many comment boards ask you to recommend or report abuse for others' comments.

In one of the article's main points, Colin quotes Wired contributor Erik Davis as saying, We've started replacing actual experience with someone else's already digested knowledge."

So I'm not going to summarize Colin's article any further. Go read "Rate This Article: What’s Wrong with the Culture of Critique" yourself. (Don't worry, it's short.) 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Check Out InformationWeek's "10 Lessons In IT Strategy From Ex-HP CIO Randy Mott"

The July issue of InformationWeek offers interesting advice from ex-CIO at HP about tech development. While this blog generally looks at issues related to traditional and social media, there's still an interest in understanding our clients' customers, often CIOs within the organization.

 Check out the article, but here are some key lessons that can apply to communications functions as well as IT:
  • The Revenue of IT: companies need to establish metrics for IT projects, and meet them, in order to have credibility with higher ups.
  • It's Tough to Imagine Fast Enough: You need to think about getting the technology into people's hands faster. Sometimes the same is true about project updates.
  • Fewer Projects at Once, Finish Them Faster. When you're working on too many projects, it can take more time to complete all of them. Instead, orgs should focus on fewer, but get them done sooner.
  • Time Doesn't Make it Better. Extending deadlines doesn't necessarily improve project outcomes. As is often quoted, sometimes "good enough" (that's delivered on time) is better than "perfect" that's delivered late.
Mott makes some other fine points, which are worth checking out here from a communications management perspective.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Validation for Our Battle of Tech Titans Prediction

Earlier this year, we predicted that a continuing story line in 2011 would be: The continuing battle among tech giants: Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Cisco vs. EMC vs. HP vs. Oracle vs. SAP. (See our blog post: Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2011, The Top 12 Business & Technology Stories, Part IV.)

The latest evidence came from Google's purchase of patents from IBM, which has been cast as "So, Is It Google & IBM vs. Oracle?"

We think the clash of the tech titans will continue to be an ongoing story line for some time in the future.

Also, we will point out that back in Jan. we missed a big story of the moment: the phone hacking scandal that continues to ripple through the News Corp. empire. Well, can't get them all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Looking back to Red Herring's Top 10 Trends of 2001

Remember Red Herring? It was a hot must-read dot-com-era publication that did not fully survive that era. At least the print edition did not survive. An online version continues to operate.

In cleaning out some old file drawers -- remember paper? -- I tossed out a lot of old clips.  One I looked at on its way to the blue recycle bin was a "Top 10 Trends 2001" article from Red Herring.  (Is it worth noting that Red Herring itself no longer hosts that page?)

The pace of technology has been fierce over the past decade.  (In 2000, an article offering tips on how companies should explore using the Internet noted that technology is "likely to continue to evolve in the next few years" -- ya think?)  Even as Red Herring's editors said they were going out on a limb in some cases, here are some key predictions:
  • Venture capital.  Bricks and mortar retailers are upstaging startups left and right, forcing venture capitalists to return to basics.  New business models don't cut it anymore.  Innovation, management, and focus on real products, revenues, and profits will. 2011: Actually, new business models still generate excitement, even ahead of revenue (I'm talking to you, Groupon, Twitter, Airbnb and a cast of too many others to name.  I'm not saying they're not going to generate profits, just that there's a lot of interest despite not being profitable.
  •  Wireless.  The advent of products using Bluetooth (a short-range wireless protocol) will create a raft of related startup companies.2011: Bluetooth is useful when you need hands-free capability to call people when driving or connecting to your iPad, but it's not as important as it was perceived to be in 2001.
  • Government.  The Internet is a global network with no master and continues to grow in power, usefulness, and importance.  Governments will join together to regulate it. 2011: Rather missed this one, I think.
  • Energy.  Fuel cells will finally make their way into homes, businesses, and automobiles, reducing our reliance on oil.2011: Give this partial credit. Fuel cells have become more mainstream, but we have yet to reduce our reliance on oil.
Actually, the got some other things right, including the impact of decoding the human genome to impact the way news drugs are developed and that the debate over intellectual property intensified. In 2011, it's also access to content like movies and music, which seems to controlled by a few sources.

Because we generate our own annual list of trends and predictions, we know how tough it can be to come up with interesting trends. But for me, the look forward from 2001 was worth the detour to look back from the vantage point of 2011 to see how much our technology focus has changed.