Archive for December, 2009

In 2009 Awareness hosted 19 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media thought leaders.  These sessions grew in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought provoking conversations.  There was a ton of value in every session and here is my list of the Top 5 Sessions of 2009 (along with some honorable mentions):

  1. End the Hype!!” A Live Panel from IMS with Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis
    Picture by Derek Wilmot

    Photo by Derek Wilmot

    What could top a rock-star panel streamed live from the floor of the Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium? This session was particularly exciting for me for a couple of reasons.  First, it was live streamed, which adds a completely new dimension (as well as a new level of stress) to a traditional webinar.  Not only does it mean people tuning in are watching you instead of a set of PowerPoint slides, but it also means there are a ton of technological hurdles you need to consider.  Luckily, Matthew Mamet and the video gurus at Visible Gains stepped up and handled the technology component.  Second, it featured an all-star panel of individuals that I have a lot of respect for in the social media space: Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis.  As the host, it put a ton of pressure on me to ask good questions, facilitate good conversations and to make sure I give each presenter enough air time.  In the end, we had a great conversation, shared some interesting case studies and had a deep discussion on metrics and social media ROI.

    A link to the live session is here

  2. Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media Strategy, From Zero to 60
    monty_fordI learned more from Scott Monty in 45 minutes than some people I talk to for hours.  It’s rare for a company the size of Ford to provide such a detailed look inside their social media strategy.  Paraphrasing Woody Allen, where he said ”90% of life is just showing up,” Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company shared with us how Ford subscribes to the Woody Allen philosophy of social media which is “90% of social media is just showing up.” Its about being where people expect you to be.  Showing up is easy, its the other part that is hard and is often where the majority of corporations fail. Well Ford is certainly doing more than just showing up. With Scott to guide them, the corporation that has experienced its share of challenges,  is now seeing significant success in their social media efforts through their many campaigns. Proof of this success could possibly be attributed to the company’s recently posted profits of nearly $1 billion in its third quarter.Here is a link to the slides and recording (written by Christine Major)
  3. Larry Weber, “Marketing on the Social Web”
    weber224-thumbI have probably seen Larry Weber speak 5 or 6 times and I have read all his books (”The Provocateur”, “Marketing to the Social Web‘ and most recently, “Sticks & Stones“).  I continue to be amazed at how much I learn from him and I continue to be a fan of how he thinks.  This session set a couple of records for Awareness sessions.  First is was the session with the highest pre-registration – over 3000 people signed up to tune in.  Second, it’s our most downloaded set of slides on slideshare (currently has 11,500 views, 118 favorites and 42 embeds).  Finally, this was one of our most active conversations on Twitter.  We received hundreds of comments and questions throughout the session leaving me scrambling to keep up.  I said this on the call and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t read “Marketing to the Social Web” pick it up, its a great read from a guy with a ton of insight on the space.

    View the slides from Larry’s Session here

  4. Mitch Joel, “Six Pixels of Separation
    MitchJoelI had the chance to read Mitch’s book, “Six Pixels of Separation“, the weekend prior to the webinar and had tons of my own questions I wanted to ask.  My only disappointment was that because we received so many questions from listeners on Twitter I never had the chance to get to any of my questions.  Mitch spent time discussing how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, Awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

    Click here to view the recording of the session

  5. (Tie) Jason Falls, “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… Who Does?” & C.C. Chapman, “Passion is Contagious”falls_chapman
    Both of these sessions we great because, first, the content rocked.  They weren’t the typical sessions talking about dialog, transparency, and general social media B.S. , they both talked about actually things you can use in your business and gave great advice.  Second, neither session needed a deck, etc.  We could have had a discussion for 45 minutes without relying on decks.  Both C.C. and Jason are expert presenters who have great experiences and backgrounds, but more important is they are great guys who are very easy to talk with.Jason led a discussion called “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… who does???“  and focused on the successes and failures of social media within marketing agencies. He talked about the right questions to ask agencies as you engage them to define and manage your social media strategy and, most importantly, what to look for as you select an agency.

    I have known C.C. Chapman for a couple of years.   We first met when we were both speakers at the New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit).  Actually, I think our first “in person” meeting was just before I  interviewed him for New Marketing T.V. What’s really interesting is that while we both graduated from Bentley University (granted it was at different times – C.C. is WAY older than me ;-) ) and shared several friends (shout out to @bostonsarah), we first connected through social media. It’s true, social media actually works!  The  first time we actually “spoke” was months before we met in person when we began chatting on Twitter and Facebook.  Since our first meeting at NMS I have seen him speak 5 or 6 times and I always learn something new from him.  This session was no exception.

    (Photo Credit: Jason Falls)

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Chris Brogan, “Trust Agents
    This will go down as the webinar that almost wasn’t.   Our original session was going to be a traditional webinar delivered by Chris focusing on his new book, “Trust Agents“.  Unfortunately, there were some technical issues and we were forced to cancel the session (want the detailed story, click here).  The good news is we were able to coordinate a live session with Chris few weeks later.   The session streamed live from the Visible Gains offices in Waltham.  It’s always great chatting with Chris and this session was no exception. He has some great case studies and really interesting insights on how to use social media as part of your marketing mix and how to grow vibrant communities.  Check out the session here.
  2. Brian Solis, Socializing your Corporate Brand
    Brian’s session focused on “Socializing your Corporate Brand”. I had not had the chance to meet Brian prior to the session but had read his book “Putting the Public back in Public Relations” and have seen him speak on a couple of occasions. What I like most about this discussion was his use of actual, real-life, tactical examples that marketers can use today to start communicating in the social web. The session didn’t focus on theory and spent time addressing the tactical questions of the audience which made for an excellent session.  Check out the session here.
  3. Adam Broitman, Innovative Marketing
    Adam Broitman is founder and ringleader at I met Adam for the first time at New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit) when we sat down for an interview on the state of new marketing (click here to view it). Adam has great insight into the agency world (spending some time at Digitas, Morpheus and Crayon) and has a very unique (some may say “innovative”) way of thinking about marketing and social media. He’s also a lot of fun to chat with and, as you we see in the recording, he’s both an entertaining and thought provoking speaker.
  4. Rachel Happe, “The Community Maturity Model
    Rachel Happe and Jim Storer of The Community Roundtable along with Adam Zawel, XPC Community Facilitator at Palladium Group presented “The Community Maturity Model.”  During the webinar, Rachel brought us through the different phases of The Community Maturity Model while Adam shared his first-hand experiences building and managing Palladium Group’s community.  According to Rachel, community is about the relationships between the people in your community and not just a content-rich website (the “audience” Brogan referred to). It is these relationships that drive engagement, passion and long term relationships. Reminds me of Ford Motor Company and their success in using social media to drive that passion for its vehicles.

We have some great speakers already lined up for 2010!  Check out the latest and greatest schedule at our website.  Got ideas for a speaker or topic?  DM me @bostonmike or email me mike.lewis(at)

This was a very exciting week at Awareness. To kick off the week we welcomed two new members to the sales team – Jocie Jandovitz and Phil Barry.  Both come to Awareness with deep experience in the software space and a passion for how social media can help companies improve marketing effectiveness.  They are great fits for the team and I am looking forward to working with them throughout 2010.

The changes don’t stop there.  Today we officially move to our new digs in Burlington, MA (which happens to be my hometown).  This is particularly exciting for me because not only is this where I grew up but it’s also where I currently live.  It’s a big win for me personally because my commute will go from about 45 minutes each way to 5 minutes.  My friend and co-worker Steve Tremblay (who also lives in Burlington) said it best: “Everyday I’ll get an hour and a half of my life back“.   The Burlington location is ideal for us because it’s larger, centrally located and is less than an hour from downtown Boston.  The space itself is also terrific – tons of room for new employees, beautiful conference rooms, an unconventional floor plan, very cool cubes, a view of the Boston skyline and space for the marketing team to host live streaming video sessions (stay tuned, details on this will follow shortly).

While we leave behind some great memories in the Waltham office we are looking forward to creating new memories in Burlington.

These are exciting times for Awareness!!!  Stayed tuned for more exciting announcements coming very, very soon!

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Here is a segment of my session at Web 2.0The Elephant in the Room: Social Media ROI.  While the session was on Social Media ROI this segment focused on the 7 Misconceptions of Social Media (Truth be told, this could have been be a session in itself).  I had a blast delivering it and heckling some of local Yankees fans.  All I can tell you is when a group of Yankees fans can appreciate a Sox fan has to say about social media you know all is right with the world.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

The top 7 list mentioned in my presentation are:

  1. Build it and they will come
  2. Use social media to BROADCAST, not listen
  3. What if it all goes wrong?
  4. It’s FREE!!!!!
  5. We only use the FREE social web
  6. We are tracking the wrong stuff
  7. We have no plan or objective

What do you think… Are there any misconceptions I missed?

Tracks by Stefano Liboni

Tracks by Stefano Liboni

This may be something many of you are already doing but it’s been an effective strategy for me so I wanted to share.  I get a lot of questions around how I track our marketing activities on social media and which metrics are the most important.

The approach I have taken is to track our activities in three distinct buckets – Social Yield, The Social Effect and Social Results.  This makes it easier to manage and understand the results.  What most marketers already know is that many of the things we track in social media are not tied directly to the bottom line which is why calculating ROI on the social web has been so challenging.  What you probably also know is that while all the metrics don’t make a financial impact, they all play a role in understanding the success or failure of your social media marketing campaigns. The buckets I use actually came from a marketing class I took in grad school (special thanks to Dr. David Gulley from Bentley University).  At the time there was no such thing as social media so the buckets were used to track traditional programs (print, email, banners, etc).

  • Social Yield is a return against a specific target.  For example, it could be the number of members you sign-up for a community against your stated objective or the number of twitter followers you gained vs. your goal. There are couple of keys for this bucket.  First is to not be afraid to put a stake in the ground and set a realistic objective.  You can do this based on previous experience or a SWAG (or a Silly Wild Ass Guess).  Either way it’s critical to establish something and stick to it.  Second, be sure to make the objective time driven.  It’s not good enough to simply state that you want to have “1000 new community members.”  Establish the goal and put it on a time line for achieving it (e.g. In <1 month, in Q1, next year> we will increase community membership to 1000).Some things to consider measuring in this bucket include number of Facebook Fans, number of new community members, number of Twitter followers, number of retweets, number of YouTube subscribers, or number of LinkedIn group members over a given period of time.
  • The Social Effect is the performance delta from social activity.  This could be as simple as a change in the number of retweets since beginning the social media program in general or around a product launch (e.g: retweets increased 120% during the week of our product launch).  More sophisticated organizations will track a change in the bottom line such as sales or customer service inquiries (e.g: Since Oct 2009 when we launched on Twitter, inbound service requests declined from 500 the previous month to 250).  Benchmarking key metrics like that up front will get you on a path for tracking an ROI.
  • Social Results are how social media met or missed the stated objectives.  For me, the key to the results bucket is they are always tracked against metrics that make a financial impact.  They could be marketing metrics like impact on cost per lead or lead conversion rates but the most important are those that impact the sales pipeline, closed opportunities and customer service incidents.  Using the example above, “Since Oct 2009 we reduced inbound service requests by 50% resulting in savings of $15,000 in deflected inbound calls and emails”

I’m really interested in hearing what you think.  Is there anything I am missing or things I should be tracking?

I was just trolling through some of my old YouTube videos and came across one I made a year ago for my son.  I can’t believe he is already 16 months old and the profound impact he has had on my life in such a short period of time.  Lately, I haven’t seen him as much as I would like and when I saw this video it made me smile.  At 16 months I already know the adage is true… they grow up way to fast.