Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

The Shopper EconomyThere is a new economic model – one that rewards the consumer for behaving a certain way that has far-reaching repercussions for your brand online. Companies that understand this new method of currency, value, and reward can reap the benefits of higher recall and increased consumer loyalty. Liz Crawford provides an analysis of this new model in The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency. With 20 years of experience as a brand manager and consultant focused on strategic innovation, Liz is uniquely qualified to identify this new shopper behavior-driven economic phenomenon. In anticipation of our Shopper Economy webinar next week, we sat down with Liz for some Q and A.

Your book, The Shopper Economy, describes an emerging economy where behavior is currency. What led you to investigate this topic?
I thought it was fascinating that digital technology, especially mobile technology, was enabling new kinds of transactions between buyers and sellers.  In addition to shoppers purchasing brands, brands were purchasing shopper behavior.  I believe this is a relatively new phenomenon.

In the book, I try to make clear that I am not referring to a conventional buy-more-get-more promotion.  And I don’t mean a deferred discount, like a cents-off-next-purchase.

Instead, I am pointing out a new dynamic where a shopper can actually earn value in exchange for one of four behaviors: paying attention, participating, advocating, or committing.  None of these behaviors directly involve purchase. The shopper can earn value by simply behaving.

This earned value can come in various forms – Shopkick Kicks, Facebook Credits, miles, points, etc. You will notice that this value is digital scrip (not straightforward fiat currency in most cases). The digital scrip is currency in that it is – 1. recorded,  2. stored and banked, and 3. redeemable at the discretion of the shopper, across channels. Shoppers can aggregate all manner of scrip in a clearinghouse website like This website allows shoppers to exchange hundreds of forms of scrip for fiat currency (dollars and cents), which may be deposited into a Paypal account.

Which industries are leading the way in understanding this new activity-based marketplace?
At this point, I believe that retailers are leading the way, along with financial services.

Retailers who are rewarding behavior are reaping the benefits.  There are various platforms which effectively use shopper participation to drive traffic and conversion.  These platforms include: , , among others. These are platforms, which shoppers download onto their smartphones as apps.

American Express, of course, is a leader in the area. Their points system is both the granddaddy of digital scrip, as well as the continued frontrunner. One of the big reasons for their massive success is their extensive network of partners.  Shoppers who acquire points can redeem them in virtually any way they please, including simply using points to supplement/replace payments at a digital point of sale ( I believe that with Google Wallet or ISIS type technologies, we will see frictionless, fungible exchanges of scrip with fiat currency, for everything. This really opens the door to the Shopper Economy.

How can small businesses take advantage of the concepts in The Shopper Economy?
Many smaller or independent retailers can begin to experiment with incenting behaviors by signing up with one of the platforms already mentioned (Checkpoints, Shopkick, SCVNGR, etc).  These mechanisms are used by hundreds of local merchants to drive traffic. In some cases the rewards are simply deferred discounts, like Foursquare rewards (“free coffee next visit” for example).  In other cases, the earned value is scrip which is redeemable at the discretion of the shopper.

For small business, advocacy is an important behavior to reward. Groupon and Living Social both reward shopper-to-shopper advocacy, and of course are used extensively by local merchants, like salons and restaurants.

In this new economy where shopper behaviors create units of value, how can marketers quantify a specific value to a shopper behavior?
This is a detailed subject.  The book devotes a chapter on valuation for each of the four shopper behaviors.  Some behaviors like Attention and Participation should be evaluated in comparison to more traditional communication and promotional expenditures, respectively.  So, if a shopper is watching an ad in exchange for scrip, does that shopper score higher on recall and persuasion scores?  It is the effectiveness of these efforts that need to be assessed. It is a trade-off of investment dollars.

The same evaluation process can be used to assess Participation programs.  For example, how effective is a SCVNGR game at driving store traffic, in comparison to other efforts?  This will help a business owner optimize marketing investments.  Participation also usually has a conversion component. That will help with understanding the financial return of the program.

The book also cites specific formulae to quantify some behaviors such as Advocacy.

What does the future look like in the shopper economy?
Shoppers will become increasingly sophisticated in understanding the worth of their labor.  This means that they will evaluate transactions with brands and retailers with a sharper eye to their own advantage.

For more insights from Liz Crawford, be sure to attend next week’s free Awareness webinar: The Shopper Economy. You can also download chapter 1 of The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency.

In 2010 Awareness hosted 24 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media authors and thought leaders.  The sessions continued to grow in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought-provoking conversations.

Every session offered a ton of value but here is our list of the Top 6 #Awarenessinc Webinars of 2010:

#6:            “How Enterprise Marketers Keep up with Facebook” with Cappy Popp – July 30, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Positive Feedback”

In 60 minutes, Cappy taught me more about Facebook than I ever thought possible.  This session was both for the Facebook novice and ‘uber-facebook-geek’.  Cappy discussed key issues facing brands as they begin marketing on Facebook as well as drilling into how to execute, on a tactical level, within Facebook.

Cappy’s session gets 2010 the award for “Most Positive Feedback”.  Of the 24 sessions we held over the course of 2010 Cappy not only received the most feedback during his session (measured by number of Tweets, emails, and comments) but he also had the highest percentage of positive feedback for his session.


#5:               Are you answering the ‘social phone’? with David Alston – January 28, 2010
Special Recognition “Best Q&A Session”

This was one of my favorite sessions to host because David is smart, easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor.  That combination makes for a great session with an excellent Q&A.  With just over 900 registrations, Dave’s session focused on social media as a new communication channel, using the analogy of a “social phone”.

While the session took place just over a year ago the insights are still as relevant today as they were then.  I hope you enjoy it.


#4:              “Engage or Die! with Brian Solis – June 1, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Creative & Compelling Title”

Talk about a direct title!  In March, Brian released his latest book “Engage!” and we were thankful to have him on a call to discuss the details of the book a couple of months later.   During his session he discussed some of the highlights of his book as well as present some compelling case studies.  I am both a fan of Brian as a writer and as a person and this session did not disappoint.



#3:            “Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist” with Jeremiah Owyang – November 18, 2010
Special Recognition “Best & Most Relevant Research”

Jeremiah’s research is always compelling and relevant.  During this session in November, he unveiled new research he completed focusing on the career path of the corporate social strategist.  The session defined the ‘new’ strategist position that is being adopted in corporations as well as outlined how individuals with this position mature.  The research was based on insights gathered from interviews with several large organizations.


#2:            “Socialnomics” with Erik Qualman – February 11, 2010
Special Recognition “Highest Registration Number”

It’s always a blast to connect with Erik! This session drove thousands of registrations, the most of any session in 2010, and the volume of attendees made for an incredibly interactive Q&A with Erik.  During the session and in his book, Erik describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.” 


#1:            “UNmarketing” with Scott Stratten – November 11, 2010
Special Recognition
Most Compelling Content & Funniest Personality

Despite some technical difficulties, this was my favorite session of 2010.  Scott could be (should be) a stand up comedian.  He does a great job taking solid content, making a point and forcing you to laugh while you learn.  It’s a quality most speakers strive for, but few are able to achieve.


Thanks again to all our speakers in 2010 who helped to educate the market on social media.  We have 24 exciting sessions scheduled for 2011.  Check out our current listing here.

You may not realize the post production work we do after a webinar is completed.  Once a session is completed the video is downloaded and converted to a YouTube-friendly format.  We then spend a fair amount of time editing the content to clean up any gaps in the presentation.  The session is then resaved and uplaoded to YouTube for the public to see.  Sounds simple, I know, but the truth is the process takes some time.

I was able to get some free over the weekend to clean up some recent content as well as rewatch the sessions and learn from the speakers again.  During most sessions I spend my time listening to the presentation, developing questions of my own and monitoring questions from the audience on Twitter.  There’s a lot going on and sometimes I miss some really important nuggets of information.  Taking the time to rewatch the sessions made realize the value our speakers provide.

Here are some sessions I just uploaded to YouTube from Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) – author of UnMarketing, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) – Analyst at Altimeter Group, John Nielsen (@john4frank) founder of FRANK, and Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear) – of Sametz Associates.  I embedded them all below to make it easier for you to view them all.  I hope you get as much out of them as I did.

Last week I hosted a fun and informative webinar with my friend Rachel Levy, founder and CEO of, called “A Webinar About Webinars: The 6 ‘P’s’ of hosting a successful webinar“.  I had a blast chatting with Rachel and I think we shared a lot of valuable tips on how to host a successful webinar.

In case you missed it, view the recording by clicking here

Also, check out and download the slides:

Finally, Here is the full list of questions and answers we fielded during the event:

  • Q: ­What kind of file do you get from recording the audio from Skype?­ (Jessica R.) A:The program we use to record Skype calls is called PowerGrammo (  It’s a seamless plug-in to Skype.  It produces and MP4 file that we go on to edit in Audacity as a podcast.
  • Q: ­Are you using PowerPoint to build the visuals?  Do you use the .ppt format in the webinar or do you need to convert it to another format? (Tami W.) A: ­Actually… I use Keynote (Apple)… but do use PPT as well.  It’s always easier (if you don’t have builds) to convert to a PDF because the file size is smaller. 
  • Q: ­True that YouTube has time limit?  10 or 15 minutes in length?­ (Kim H.) A: ­Yes, YouTube currently has a 15 minute limit, unless you have a producer account.  But, Viddler (unlimited), and have longer limits.
  • Q: ­Do you have any best practices for how to “train” a remote speaker? E.G. we can’t see the speaker’s equipment, what buttons they’re pressing, etc. Some are very inexperienced with webinar technology.­ (Veronica S.) A. Typically we hold 2 sessions with speakers.  The first is a week before the event where we walkthrough the logistics and provide relevant training on the platform we are using.  The next session happens 30 minutes before the start of the call.  We review logistics and training and make sure everyone understands the process.
  • Q: ­What niche markets do you service?­ (Susan B.) A:  WebinarListings serves all webinar types, but the most common categories we have on our site are Business, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media and Technology.  A. At Awareness we work with small-to-large sized organizations who use our software help manage their social media activities through one location.  We don’t have a niche as our clients span multiple industries.
  • Q: ­What is the philosophy on slides?  Personally I like to take notes on a print out of slides.­ (Roger W.) A: I have seen some webinar hosts do that.  The upside is that people can take notes, but the downside for the webinar host is that people will skip around and not pay attention to where you are in the presentation.
  • Q: ­Will you show the social media promotion strategy you use?­ (Jessica R.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: ­Mike, you mentioned you use WebEx; have you had the best success with them? Any others you’d recommend – Glance, GoToWebinar, etc…..­ (Nicki H.) A. We have had the best experience with WebEx because they seem to be the best at dealing with large audiences.  Each platform has its pros & cons.  I’d recommend making a list of the features and functions that are most important and trialing the 2-3 vendors that seem to fit your needs before making a final decision.
  • Q: ­Why are most Webinars held at 2PM ET?­ (Dave B.) A: 2pm is a great time for a webinar, as it accommodates most time zones at a reasonable hour.
  • Q: ­Do you always mute attendees during the presentation and then unmute them during Q&A?­ (Terri P.) A: I suggest keeping them muted during the entire webinar (including the Q&A) as it is difficult to control a large group from interrupting each other.  If you have a very small group, you can use the “raise hand” feature most software has, and unmute people when they have a question.
  • Q: Interested in how you incorporate the social media aspects with the webinar (Kim  H.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: What’s your position on pricing in today’s competitive webinar landscape? Charge or not charge? (Bob W.) A: It depends if your goals are more geared towards lead generation or revenue generation.  A fee based structure does tend to indicate higher quality, but your attendance will drastically reduce. My personal thought (Rachel) is, make more entry level topics free, and consider charging for higher level topics.  Then people have been introduced to your company in the entry level webinars, and are more trusting of paying.
  • Q: Why use Twitter vs. Webex chat/q&A?  As a participant what is benefit? (Kim H.) A: It’s best to offer both as options, as people prefer to use what is more comfortable to them.   People active on Twitter, oftentimes prefer to tweet questions, if they are tweeting highlights from the webinar there anyway. And, as Mike mentioned, the more people are tweeting, the more awareness you bring to the webinar, which will increase current or future registrations.
  • Q: What is the best way to handle dead noise? For example when we pause for Q&A and no one asks anything – how do you suggest on starting questions flowing? (Gwynne J.) A: Come up with a list of potential questions before the webinar starts, so you can answer them if no one is asking questions.  You can also go back and spend more time on some of the slides you ran out of time to discuss or didn’t spend sufficient time  on.
  • Q: What’s the best way to show videos during webinar?  I’ve tried to show videos but very slow is that wifi issue? (Chris Y. and Deb K.) A: Most of the platforms support video but what we have found is it can be an issue depending on the connection of the participant.  We encourage video on our sessions but have found some end users, with slower connections may have issues. 
  • Q: How many of you have dedicated staff to create program vs. use a intermediary to deal with platform provider/setup? (Kim H.) A: We have this as a component of one person’s function.  You would likely not need to budget a full time employee to accommodate.
  • Q: Has anyone used InnerPass? (Tami W.) A: No experience with them but I will check them out!
  • Q: Has anyone done the Ragan Communications webinars? They are all “pay” webinars. Not cheap. Wonder if they’re worth the price?  (Tami W.) A: No experience with them
  • Q: Length?  Can you hold interest longer than 60 minutes? (Kim H.) A: It’s hard to hold people’s attention on a webinar for much longer than an hour, especially if you are still presenting (versus handing Q&A).
  • Q: Do you have to estimate the number of participants when planning webinar? If so, how do you estimate? (Tami W.) A: You should estimate the number of attendees, to be sure your software platform and phone lines can handle the quantity you’re expecting.  The best way to estimate is to base it on prior webinars you’ve given.  If you’ve never done a webinar before, you could ask another host who had held a similar webinar.