Selling PR Measurement at Work: Rehashed

This was a pretty popular post when I first wrote it, so I have tweaked it a bit for my Georgetown students this semester.

So…

We have all been there.  You have killer ideas that can save your company money, your competitors are all doing it — and all you need to do is get the ok from your boss to implement a blog (internal or external), a podcast, Twitter, use You Tube, Facebook, hell, even an .rss feed.

And then you get “The Look.”

We’ve all seen it.  It’s something between hearing that Santa Claus isn’t real and the look on Dan Quayle’s face when Lloyd Bentsen said “”Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”  Too often than not, when those above you (or your clients), exhibit that look, you need to think fast or watch your social media dreams go up in flames.  So here are a few tips that might help you think fast before “The Look” becomes a “no.”

  1. Knowing and reacting. It’s simple and unquantifiable, but the there is likely already conversation going on about your company/clients, their products, issues, executives and value — it’s already happening.  Here’s the simple part:  you can choose to be part of it or choose to ignore it.  So when someone blogs about you, good or bad, have a monitoring system in place and rules in place for if — or even when — to engage. I have written about monitoring reputation management ad nauseum, but the first step in engaging in the conversation is to know what people are saying about you, and who really matters.  It doesn’t have to cost a ton to monitor, and even Twitter search has an .rss output now.  No excuses.And here’s a little tip to help simplify it:  if you walked out of the building and heard someone trashing our company, wouldn’t you engage that person in conversation to offer your points of view?  Would you just let it go? What we’re talking about is no different.
  2. Projecting your point of view. If you are reading this blog, you probably already have a pretty good idea of the arsenal that is available to project your company’s/client’s/executives’ view into cyberspace, so I won’t spent a lot of time on the tools and tactics.  Most CEO-types are bottom-line oriented, so if you can make can intelligent case about cost-per-contact (CPC) — talked about brilliantly in Katie Payne’s book “Measuring Public Relationships,” you have a winner.  For example, let’s say so implement a Twitter feed.  The only cost, really, is your time to set it up and monitor it.  If you make $60,000 a year (plus benes and work 2,000 hours a year), that’s going to be about $45 per hour.  If you spend an hour a day on Twitter and build up a network of contact of 500 followers, your CPC is going to be about $22.50  ($11,250/500).  Compare this to advertising (which you can’t appropriately measure, only guess, earned media or paid media, which again you can’t appropriately measure) and the $22.50 cost per contact is pretty darn good.  And this is only measuring the cost per acquiring each contact and does not add in the value of the conversations that are taking place via Twitter throughout the year.  And especially in a down economy, CPC is more important than ever.And one final note:  I maintain a Twitter account for my day job and can tell you that the vast majority of the major “traditional” news outlets are on it -watching what my employer has to say.
  3. You can’t always have the ROI you want. I am directly lifting this from a must-listen “For Immediate Release” podcast in which Mark Ragan led a group of social media experts through a fascinating panel in which he pretended to be the “Dumb-Ass CEO,” and Shel Holtz discussed blogging.  Mark Ragan challenged: “You better be precise.  I’m busy.  Why is it that I need to launch this blog, which I don’t even know what it is.”  Sound familiar?  Shel had a great answer.  He said that many companies still invest in things like taking key customers to golf club memberships, greens fees, etc. to build relationships, and we don’t measure that, right?  Everyone gets that you are building solid relationships with these people in the golf course, and not one ever challenges that, right? The basis of social media, like blogs, is developing relationships.  You can’t always measure everything — and you have to be at peace with that.
  4. Blogging baby steps. A lot of time, you have to take steps that are not 100 percent of what you want to begin with, so there are a couple of things you can do in the meantime.  First, talk to your boss about starting an internal blog — something that is apart from that God-awful intranet that you have.  Start slowly by talking to your employees – the people who are your brand and company ambassadors, and you might discover that you are ready for prime time — taking it to the “outside world” after all.  And a tactic that I have done more often than not, start a test blog.  Mock it up, don’t make it public, but if you have just a few moments to capture the time and attention of a senior executives, pictures and clicks are worth a 1,000 arguments.  While Mr./Mrs.  CEO is clicking through the blog, you can make your case about the fact that businesses are built on relationships — and having a blogging platform is a fantastic way to have a parallel set of relationships with your internal or external audiences.
  5. Beware of the roadblocks. People hate change.  Especially people who have been doing it one way for a long time.  If you are attempting a “paradigm shift” (100 points for BS bingo, which I won on the “Hobson and Holtz Report: #399), talk to the people who might try to stand in your way.  My experience tells me that there are two prospective deal-killers in an organization:  IT and legal.When the Internet was for propeller-heads, IT owned it.  It was theirs, and we “communicators” simply did not get it.  And now we want to OWN IT???  Try a quiet, discreet conversation with someone reasonable (and high up) in IT to get buy-in on a shared project.And legal?  I have climbed this mountain so many times I have no fingernails left.  But here is my two cents, and it is pretty simple.  The right way to go about is is to start the conversation with “How can we do this?”  The wrong way is “Can I do this?”  Make the question about what THEY need to do to collaborate and make this a reality and don’t give legal any maneuvering room to kill something.  Sure, there will be disclaimers (be smart and cut and paste the disclaimer statement from a competitor and bring it to your meeting), but frame and conversations in terms of HOW it can be accomplished, not IF it can be accomplished.

But it’s not all about me;  Tell me about your own experiences when trying to sell in new media in an old-school job.  Or if you have not tried it, tell me how you would.

Mark

19 thoughts on “Selling PR Measurement at Work: Rehashed

  1. Proposing a new idea remains a goal of mine at all times. I sometimes find myself too busy to even think about thinking outside of the box, but when I do I get pretty passionate about my idea. I actually attempted to propose a pod cast to my previous company. I worked in government contracting and consulting and my company often held cocktail events where industry speakers would come in to discuss market trends. Being right out of college, I was stuck signing clients in and handing out name tags. I realized that many of our registered attendees did not end up attending. I figured providing a pod cast of these events on our web site would not only allow current clients to see what they had missed, but it would open up a forum for discussion and could be used as a differentiator between us the competition. It is ironic because IT was in fact road block in implementing the new technology to our site.

    I wish I had some of the knowledge I have now about angling and perspective. One of the hurdles I had to confront involved our client base. Some of my superiors claimed our clients were “unlikely” to listen to a pod cast because of their age. I didn’t know how to angle my idea to counter that statement. There were a number of things I didn’t do that could have improved my chances of getting an ok. I think coming up with examples where our competitors were utilizing more recent technologies would have proved our customers can evolve with the times. I also didn’t look for an ally that had a seat at the table. I didn’t think about what results a podcast or blog would yield. By creating a pod cast or blog, we might have developed a following or interactive discussion that could be used to grow revenues. I also never considered how to move at a slower pace that might have offered an easier progression towards my end goal.

    The suggestions offered in this post offer a strategic perspective on how to change things even if you are not a department head or event a management level. Most of us in class are just starting our careers, but also have a natural tendency to not only understand but apply new technologies to our personal and professional lives.

  2. Proposing a new idea remains a goal of mine at all times. I sometimes find myself too busy to even think about thinking outside of the box, but when I do I get pretty passionate about my idea. I actually attempted to propose a pod cast to my previous company. I worked in government contracting and consulting and my company often held cocktail events where industry speakers would come in to discuss market trends. Being right out of college, I was stuck signing clients in and handing out name tags. I realized that many of our registered attendees did not end up attending. I figured providing a pod cast of these events on our web site would not only allow current clients to see what they had missed, but it would open up a forum for discussion and could be used as a differentiator between us the competition. It is ironic because IT was in fact road block in implementing the new technology to our site.

    I wish I had some of the knowledge I have now about angling and perspective. One of the hurdles I had to confront involved our client base. Some of my superiors claimed our clients were “unlikely” to listen to a pod cast because of their age. I didn’t know how to angle my idea to counter that statement. There were a number of things I didn’t do that could have improved my chances of getting an ok. I think coming up with examples where our competitors were utilizing more recent technologies would have proved our customers can evolve with the times. I also didn’t look for an ally that had a seat at the table. I didn’t think about what results a podcast or blog would yield. By creating a pod cast or blog, we might have developed a following or interactive discussion that could be used to grow revenues. I also never considered how to move at a slower pace that might have offered an easier progression towards my end goal.

    The suggestions offered in this post offer a strategic perspective on how to change things even if you are not a department head or event a management level. Most of us in class are just starting our careers, but also have a natural tendency to not only understand but apply new technologies to our personal and professional lives.

  3. First, I have not attempted to sell new media to my current job (lobbying firm), yet. I believe my job is an old-school type of firm/job as we don’t pursue media attention, ever.

    Instead, we perform our work quietly without drawing attention to the firm, as corrupt lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff have helped brand all lobbyists as misleading and corrupt.

    The idea of selling new media to my boss would be challenging. The major qualifying question that would be asked is:

    How is this going to help us make money?

    I’ve written what I believe I would say to my boss about the new media of blogs; however, I would gladly welcome insight and advice.

    Blogs:

    We can measure the results and success of blogging, allowing us to bill clients’ hourly rates for services on contingency of success. Blogging on behalf of our clients’ interest will make our job easier, long-term, by making the public aware of legislation that is or isn’t being passed through Congress, and the potential effects.

    Blogging gives us the ability to:

    • Write a online informative piece about issues facing our clients
    • Gain public online support
    • Potentially gain earned media support for clients through news papers that are known for using blogs as topic starting points; (i.e. Washington Post, LA Times)
    • Think of blogs as online op-eds

    Currently there are no open lobbying blogs. If we would open a lobby blog, we would attract various readers:

    • Reporters who have interest in current issues that our clients face
    • People who are uninformed on special issues
    • People who don’t understand what lobbying is

    I’m also working on an idea for twitter at work. I will follow up and post that soon. Any advice or input would be appreciated.

  4. I like Kevin, work for a lobbying firm and would not know where to begin to pitch new media to my boss. Part of my apprehension comes from client confidentiality, thus I would not know what to tell my boss we should blog about. Much of what takes place at our firm can not be broadcast on the internet. Our clients would frown upon this. Secondly, my boss is one of those individuals who do not like change and if it was not an idea that she came up with herself she kills the idea quickly. I do think that one angle that we could take is an internal blog that only our staff clients would have access to. But, here is another road block. If we open up a blog only for staff and clients then we run the risk of creating tension between the different clients that we have. If one client sees that we are working on a project for another client and got better results then we could create conflict. I honestly do not think that social media can work in a government relations setting. Particularly in our firm being that we are one of the smaller lobbying firms.

    Nonetheless, I am also interning at a clothing boutique in D.C. and I did suggest that we implement a blog on the company’s website to give shoppers insight on the upcoming looks for the seasons. Also, to keep consumers informed on what is taking place inside of the store. This was an easy sell to the boutique owner. She thought it would be a great idea to keep customers interactive with the boutique. I find that it is a lot easier to pitch new media to popular culture company such as clothing stores, radio stations, and television companies than to political organizations.

    If I have this wrong please let me know but I do feel very c

  5. My blog got cut off:

    If I have this wrong please let me know but I do feel very confined at the lobbying firm as to how much communications efforts I can offer.

  6. Over two year’s ago, when I moved from the corporate world to a job at a non-profit, I quickly realized that I was surrounded by co-workers with “old-school” mindsets. Initially, I found it extremely frustrating to show my boss how to click and drag with with her mouse and even more frustrating to explain the need for our organization to consider using Facebook to reach our constituents. Two years later, and after much debate, I am proud to say that we implemented Facebook, and that it has not only helped us maintain our relationships with our constituents, but it has also helped to establish new relationships.

    Obviously, the implementation of Facebook in my organization did not take place over night, however, the combination of research and the examples of other peer organizations using Facebook made for a compelling case for my superiors to at least learn about the benefits of having a Facebook account.

    Considering the first point of Mark’s blog, “Knowing and reacting,” is actually the first point I used in my case for implementing Facebook. Through my research, I showed my superiors that our constituents were already on Facebook, and in fact, they already had their own Facebook groups linked to our organization. The most significant point that I made to my superiors was that our organization had a presence on Facebook without anyone in our organization even knowing about or monitoring the number of emerging groups. I explained to my boss that it is crucial for us to have an official Facebook page, so that our constituents can at least get factual information from us directly, and so that we can monitor and control our relationships with our constituents. Additionally, Facebook is a cheap and easy way for my organization to communicate with our constituents about upcoming events and activities.

    I am proud to say that within one month of our launch, we now have over 300 friends. In fact, we recently used Facebook as our primary tool for an event at a Washington Cap’s game. We ran almost all communications and event management from our Facebook page, and we had over 100 people come to our pre-game happy hour. In my case, it was not that my boss was against Facebook, she just simply did not understand the benefits of using it as a way for our organization to build and maintain relationships with our constituents. By educating my boss and senior management about the benefits of Facebook, I won my case and established a page.

    To me, it seems that if you want your organization to implement a blog, Twitter, or Facebook, your case needs to be compelling and simplified, and your case should be broken down to one public relations tool at time.

  7. From my past experience in a public relations agency, trying to apply new media to an old-school job was the last thing that my supervisor and our clients were willing to do. Like what I said in our first class, the media surroundings in my country is somewhat different from that in the United States. PR practitioners in my country have got used to the conventional ways, which might have been passed on through ex-colleagues or supervisors, of maintaining the relationships with customers and prospects. Those conventional ways of dealing with the relationships between our clients and the public seldom included specific public relations measurements of knowing “how we can do this.” Neither my supervisor nor my clients asked for more effective ways to monitor what people were saying about us. I am sure that they did want to know, but they were even more afraid that knowing people’s conversations would cost a lot. I realized my supervisor and clients were the biggest roadblocks in my job when I wanted to use new media as an approach to gain more information from the market. They just did not want to get into trouble and increase their workload.

    In fact, my supervisor and clients just did not know other cost-effective and innovative ways to look into our stakeholders, so that they did not want to change any existent approaches. Since I could not convince them of the benefits of using new media, I personally set up a blog to post the introduction of our clients, share information on their products, and promote public relations campaigns. Around three months later, when online visitors steadily increased and some of them kept writing positive and negative comments regularly, I told my supervisor that I had taken a baby step to blog. She felt a little surprised at the people’s diverse feedbacks from the blog and revealed some regret for not setting out to blog earlier. For our client, it did not cost any bucks to know people’s sentiment; therefore, they became willing to embrace the power of new media to get more clues from the market.

    Keeping abreast with the trend to use new social media, such as blogs and Facebook to engage in people’s conversations, allows people to understand that our client/ a company/ cares about what YOU want, YOUR thoughts. Meanwhile, for public practitioners, being in part of those conversations helps build a bridge to attain mutual beneficial relationships at no extra cost.

  8. For the first time in my career I definitely consider social media a non-negotiable as opposed to a nice to have component. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of social media with my Cause Consulting client – a nonprofit with limited staffing and budget.

    My solution for them has been to introduce them to Twitter – which is turning out to be a manageable and not so scary step into the whole social media sphere. The time and cost, as Mark points out, are negligible and the risk of saying the wrong thing is significantly reduced by the 140 character limit.

    When something is very new, I think offering it in bite size pieces makes it more palatable for the doubters and more manageable for you. It is tempting to dive right in and go for a big and ambitious initiative but in the long run a more considered and staggered approach is probably more sustainable.

  9. This discussion reminds me of the first thesis of the “Cluetrain Manifesto,” which states that “markets are conversations.” By discouraging the use of online tools such as blogs, mircoblogs, podcasts, vlogs and social networks companies are jeopardizing their own existence and limiting their potential growth. By sticking to their old ways companies are unable to to take part in relevant discussions, which are made possible with frequent interactions via these online tools.

    New media is a great topic of discussion and very timely since we were just discussing this last class. Keith asked a great question last class regarding this topic, which sparked an interesting conversation of how to introduce new media to higher management.

    In my opinion, some companies fear the discussions and conversations that have the potential of arising from online tools such as weblogs. For example, one reason they may be avoiding using these effective tools is to avoid negative feedback from disgruntled clients. However, what these companies don’t realize is that negative feedback can be delivered in several different outlets. Just because a company does not have their own company blog, does not mean an unsatisfied client will not blog their experience or sentiments via a different online medium. Instead of being closed-minded and dodging these online tools, companies should really be embracing them.

    I have not been in a situation yet where I have had to sell new media in an old-school job yet. However, if I was posed with that problem, I would definitely use Katie Paine’s measuring tools to back up my assertions with some hard measurement facts and statistics. I would also prepare an interactive presentation for my boss for him or her to visualize the effects of these online tools. People are scared of trying new things or changing the way in which they typically conduct their daily routines so maybe by me demonstrating the simplicity of using Twitter or a Facebook application would work to my advantage.

    When used properly, online tools are successful for many companies. Company blogs including General Motor’s Fast Lane blog, Sun Mircosystems’ weblog and Wal-mart’s checkout blog all demonstrate the advantage that online tools provide for a their company.

    Lastly, I think one important thing to keep in mind is that using these online tools badly is worse than not doing them at all. For example, a bad corporate blog, a robotic twitter feed, etc can do a lot more damage from a public relations perspective.

    Ideally, I wish I could just give my boss a copy of Dan Gillmor’s “We the Media”, or Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s “Naked Conversations” OR Katie Paine’s “Measuring Relationships” and just tell him/her to “READ THIS!” But that would be too easy.

  10. Personally, I think you need a therapist to pitch the idea of starting a blog or any other social media tools to your company’s CEO. I think it might be easier if there is a therapist standing by that could tell them to say over and over “the blog is my friend, it can be profitable”. We all are aware of the fact convincing the decision maker in the company to make changes is an uphill task. It gets even worse if they have no idea about what you are talking about because then you have to deal with the “show me the money” aspect.
    While I have been blessed with a little bit of patience and I can deal with the time it takes to do the convincing. The one that makes me want to climb a wall…any wall is the ignorant person sitting at meeting that has no idea of what message you are trying to pass along but because he can surf the internet thinks he is a guru. You know I have been through that experience right? It was not a pleasant experience having both types of people in the room. While you are convincing one, the other pokes a hole in whatever you are saying.
    Yes I am glad to know that I was not crazy then. It is amazing to know that they now use the tools that I had suggested to them some six months ago and actually like it. I wish I had suggested blogging baby steps though; I might have saved myself sometime.

  11. Reading through this blog I was so happy, and wished I had come across this kind of article a long time ago. I had the opportunity to serve as an Editor-in-chief in a newspaper back in my country and the proprietor and publishers totally gave a deaf ear when new methods where proposed to give a better coverage and present our new stories. I remember proposing we extend our scope and give people with knowledge about an issue to write for our paper .That was immediately turned down. They always thought the paper had to keep on running as it had been and needed no change because it was not encountering any problem. By the time they realized we had lost some of our readership. What made matters worse is that apart from the letters to the editors we received, we were not into the social media trend like facebook or blogs despite its availability to us.

    Had it been I had come in contact with such a wonderful article, we could not have gone way down the drain. This is an important document especially to those new into the PR field and I think having these tips at the back of your mind would be of benefit to both you as Pr professional and your organization. I believe I can now sell in the new media no matter where I find myself.

    The best thing to know is any organization is bound to succeed due to the new media trends available to us, provided we put them in use.

  12. Blogging Baby Steps:
    This would actually be an excellent idea to pitch at my job. Right now we have an open door policy, which is not as effective as we would like it to be. And yes we only have that “God Awful intranet”. Starting a blog for our employees will allow them to voice their opinions and concerns more frequently. It would also give executives the opportunity to explain why best practices are in place. Through my experience at Target, the stores receive several hotline calls where employees would complain on any and everything they could think of. These hotline personnel’s just serve as mediators between the employee and the executive accused to resolve the issue. A blog can serve as the company’s mediator. Executives can quickly hear what the concerns are in the store and address them accordingly. If this blog went public, it would be an easier way for the stores to track guest comments and surveys as well. Although this idea sounds great, Target is so far behind other big box retail companies that we can’t even get corporate to adjust the payroll per guest head count vs. payroll per sales within the stores. Not to mention I’m still waiting on the recycling bins. Until I’ve made it to the corporate level, I can only absorb these ideas and tactics with hopes to implement them then.

  13. Executives who hate change make it increasingly difficult for new media to survive in the work place. During my tenure with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I witnessed old school management dance with the idea of new media tactics. The majority of senior executives were interested in the possibilities of new media, but rarely exerted effort to learn the methods and practices associated with new media advantages.

    Businesses develop relationships both offline and online, however senior executives want to control the relationships and manage interaction in a formal setting. Social networking sites have a tendency to be less formal and intimidating to the non-user.

    On a semi-positive note, I did observe younger support staff constantly reviewing blogs and social networking sites only to neatly package the findings in an outdated memorandum format for senior executive review.

    In addition to the bottom-line, the “comfort factor” is an important underlying question when pitching a new idea or media strategy to senior executives. Management will inevitably push back if they do not understand how new media operates within their business framework.

  14. When I moved to DC I made the switch from a corporate setting to an agency. The transition was a culture shock and an adjustment for several reasons; the biggest reason being that I was no longer on the side making the final decision. In my first month I witnessed a government client reject using radio to reach Hispanic/Latinos. The decision surprised me because, radio was a traditional medium known to be one of the best ways of reaching Hispanics/Latinos.

    A few months later I was tasked to develop an interactive marketing plan to reach teens and young adults for the same client who had rejected the radio initiative. The interactive marketing plan was a first for our client and for our company, and for this task I was working under the guidance of @ericldavis. He was not the manager who developed and presented the radio initiative, and I had never worked with him before. As I was drafting the plan I found out that the client had turned down using social media before and incorporated research and suggestions into the plan that would address their concerns.

    I presented @ericldavis with a plan using YouTube, social networking sites, blogger outreach, search engine optimization and email marketing. My recommendations were based on both research and my belief that these were the best combination of elements to reach the primary audience (teens & young adults) and our secondary audience (education professionals). His first question after reviewing my plan was “how are we going to measure this?” Ignorant to the importance of measure, and to his style, I said we would count views. He returned the plan, and asked me to find a better way to measure, and to find government health agencies who were already using social media and their numbers, stressing these were needed to make the sale. His request seemed impossible because in 2007 very few government agencies – especially health government agencies were using social media.

    Although there were moments where we both hit our heads against the desks, or hated each other our efforts in the end paid off. We presented the client with:
    -user stats for online media that we broke down by age group
    -guidelines for accepting friends on social networks
    -guidelines for accepting and displaying comments by users
    -steps for responding to questions
    -how we would be measuring the initiatives (these included outputs, outtakes and outcomes)
    -addressed 508-compliance issues
    -benefits of social media
    -costs (including how much they would save vs. using traditional media)
    -list of government health agencies that are using social media

    The measurement and research we conducted to develop the plan showed the client how many users could be reached and at a lower cost than with traditional mediums, how we would be able to directly measure our efforts, and how successful the CDC and AIDS.gov had been since implementing social media to their respective campaigns. I admit they were impressed with the measurement, research and that we addressed their concerns, but the selling point was when they learned the CDC was already using social media.

    Today I realize the client turned down the radio proposal because they were just given user stats and costs to make their decision, but I hope to be back on the corporate setting where I can make the pitch internally.

  15. Working for a new media company we do not run into problems with our executives being stuck in older-school media ways, but more with our clients trying to understand out media ways and how we can help them. Our job as a company is to apply the social media and new media ways like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. to our clients to help enhance our clients message and get their word out in the world. The biggest action we take with our client when proposing to them our new media ideas is to include them in out decision by asking them directly “How can we do this”, just like it is stated above. We give them the chance to state how they think things should be approached, even if their ideas are on a more old-school level and not exactly what we were hired for. Then with what we discuss with them we go back to them with our proposal saying this is how we can enhance your ideas. So, what we do is show them we incorporated their ideas they proposed and put the new media spin on them.

    Another thing we do with our clients is we approach them with new ideas constantly showing how we can improve their company to keep things continuously moving. We show them with out new media company we are taking initiative, and show how our initiative in the new media world enhances their old-school ways. We do not demolish their old school ways, but show how they can be built on.

  16. Like some of my colleagues, I have not had the opportunity to sell new media in my company, but I’ve had the opportunity to fight for measurement. I can attest to the fact that it wasn’t easy, but I won that battle. For a few years now I’ve been fighting for two types of measurement: web traffic and exit pages. I know it sounds basic, but where I work, we didn’t have it.

    At my company, IT always owned the web site. This will be changing soon, when we unveil the new website in June. At that point, marketing will own the website. It has taken me 2 years to change that. Part of the issue was IT’s reluctance to give up the website, and part of the issue was our company culture which placed no value on the website. Along with a brand new look and feel, new navigation and architecture, we will be able to do 3 important things that will help us improve over time.

    One, we will be able to track unique visitors, what pages they visit and how long they stay. Are people coming to see product pages or to see company information? Do we need to add more pages or more details to any of those areas? Do we have 100 or 1,000 people coming a month? In June, we’ll be be to answer that.

    Two, we will be able to track “exit pages”. At what point did we lose the person? For a few of our products people have the opportunity to sign up online. If the person closed the browser on step 1 where we ask for personal information, maybe we need to add copy to reassure them their personal information is safe. If the person closed the browser on step 4, maybe the issue is price is too high and we need to show lower benefit amounts. In June, we’ll be able to do that.

    Three, we will be able to survey people as they leave the website and find out whether or not they found what they were looking for and whether or not it was easy.

    I know those 3 measurements will go a long way towards making our website a little better.

  17. I currently work for Fishbowl Marketing, a marketing firm that creates email advertising for restaurants. Fishbowl Marketing is the #1 email marketing firm for restaurants. Fishbowl is technologically advanced company and creating a blog would be tricky, due to the economic conditions and the youth of the company* (the company is nine years old), yet advantageous. Selling the idea of a blog would be easy, in the sense that I know all of the C-Suite employees and would be at ease speaking with them about an internal blog. I would gather the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer to sell them on the idea of creating a FishBlog (majority of Fishbowl’s internal software begin with the word Fish, hence the word FishBlog).

    I have never pitched the idea of an internal blog, but the way I would sell it is by gathering the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer, and saying:

    Starting an internal blog (FishBlog) will help Fishbowl management determine its internal strengths and weaknesses by allowing employees to voice their concerns and/ or opinions about company-wide issues. FishBlog will give you, the C-Suite, input into what employees really think about the company and will provide insight as to which areas the company can improve. FishBlog will establish and maintain two-way communication between the C-Suite and all other employees.

    FishBlog can be maintained by one person, who checks the blog for one hour everyday, tracks trends in employee comments, and reports the information to the various department heads whose departments the comments affect. The departments can then make appropriate changes to their departments.

    FishBlog can take the place of the media board that we once had and can become an added internal resource to Fishbowl.

    Before launching FishBlog to the entire Fishbowl staff, we can run a pilot program and see how well it takes off. If employees utilize FishBlog and we receive a lot of feedback, then we should launch it company-wide. The best way to measure the blog is by seeing how many Fishbowl employees are using it, what they are saying, and the frequency of the comment(s). The blog could be created by our Tech department and they could create a link to the blog from Fishhook**.

    *I say that the company’s youth is a hindrance because some C-suite employees may not want to listen to ideas since some policies and practices are still being made and tweaked.

    **Fishhook is the name of Fishbowl’s intranet.

  18. I can relate to Mark’s blog post this week, I’m sure a lot of us can. As students learning something new in classes each week, we have become exposed to many new concepts, tools and experiences.
    Working for a trade association, I have seen that “look” multiple times from our senior staff. Change is hard for many to accept in my association because so many people are used to doing things the comfortable way or should I say the old way. A significant amount of our members are aware of new technology tools and social media outlets that are being used, but for some reason our senior staff seems to be under the impression that imposing any new “technologies and media” will intimidate our members. About a year ago, we got approval to start doing webinars targeting professional development in the field of education. The majority of the people on staff thought that these webinars were not going to be money makers and that we should hold workshop and conferences instead. The first few webinars did not have a large turn out but after we made some changes and made it even more “user friendly,” our webinars became a revenue maker for the association. Not surprisingly, after the senior staff saw the $$$ that the webinars were brining in, they decided they wanted to host a webinar on a monthly basis. We now have a team that works on webinar development, advertising and marketing. Everyone on staff now sees the great potential of hosting webinars with chat rooms and web conferences; we are constantly improving our platform. It took a pilot year of hosting webinars and positive results for senior staff to welcome this change.

  19. As corporations and government agencies continue to trim the financial fat, monitor departmental/organizational spend and tighten purse-strings, pitching any new idea, regardless of its projected value, is no cakewalk. Social media tools are especially a hard sell to traditional, brick-and-mortar establishments that are comfortable maintaining the status-quo as far as business processes are concerned. Why change?
    As the savvy PR agent (who has read Paine’s “Measuring Public Relationships” and completed esteemed professor Mark Story’s class), there are a few tricks of the trade that you can use to make any manager sit up and take notice:
    1) Competitive Intelligence: keeping your ear close to the ground can give you the insight you need on what competitors are doing in the social media realm. What tools are your competitors using? Is it working? What is working and what isn’t? I am willing to bet your boss/executive team, driven by the “me-too!” urge, will listen with perky ears at anything the competition is doing – no one wants to be the lagging fish in the pond!
    2) One-upmanship: Here’s the real bait-and-hook for your sell: if you can demonstrate what social media tools “the others” are using and how YOU can make it better – well, this may get you the corporate equivalent of an Oscar (I’m not sure what that is, but praise and a raise is always nice). This strategy, at the very least, may get you the budget dollars you need.
    3) Know Your Audience: If you define your publics and set specific, measurable goals and objectives (Katie Paine principles taken straight from her book), your executive team may be more receptive – any broad, ill-defined, all encompassing goal is terrifying to bottom-line focused executives. But something that is specific and measureable is part of their playbook, so why not use this to your advantage? Here’s an example: In the Federal government proposal world, businesses compete for contract opportunities with agencies/potential customers by selling their solution as “the best” in an RFP response. If it was discovered that a potential prospect is using blogs/Wikis as part of their day-to-day operations, wouldn’t it make us look good if we, too, were utilizing such tools? Perhaps we could even tap into discussions among those agencies we are targeting (as customers) and learn more about their needs, wants, likes, dislikes? Wouldn’t this give us the competitive advantage we need to win more business? Paine emphasizes knowing your audience throughout the book and I firmly believe this is the most effective way to build long lasting relationships with your defined publics.
    4) Test Pilot Program: I agree with Mark – a dry-run of the blog or other social media tool that you wish to use is a great demonstration for executives to see – it brings vague concepts to life and inspires change with baby steps. Additionally, if you launch such a tool with a test group (internal or external) and pick 1-2 measurement tools that you know your management team likes/believes in, well, again, you just might become the Golden Child. Perhaps a survey, focus group or multivariate analysis project will be music to the ears of your target audience (your boss); sprinkle in a CPM statistic and bang! You’re in.
    This is how I would sell a social media concept to an old dog. If you speak in their language, it just might do the trick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.