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Owyang: The Importance of Nurturing

At Web Strategy by Jeremiah:

“It’s amazing how things come back around, when you least expect them.

“Earlier today I talked to John Batelle, the CEO of Federated Media, he spends a lot of time educating clients and helping them learn, moving them from the ‘Why’ to the ‘What’ to the ‘How’ questions. It pays off for him in spades, as he’s able to demonstrate his knowledge, leadership, and get his customers to trust him and his company.”

While they were talking about a smarter approach to selling something, they could have been talking about conversational marketing done right. First add value. In the process you foster trust. The more that people trust you (and the more people there are that trust you), the greater your influence over the conversation.

Thanks for the shout out, Jeremiah!

Intel Marketing: Fishing Where the Fish Are

Jeremiah Owyang applauds Intel for marketing strategies that bring value to customers without forcing those customers to Intel.com, such as Intel’s sponsorship of Digg Images One Hell of a Christmas rip . Key driver of these initiatives at Intel is Dave Veneski.

“The moment of brilliance was when David said that one of the requirements of his marketing efforts was to not link to Intel.com. Rather than try to join a community then pull them away, the marketing efforts joined the community and stayed there –likely where the trust is highest (see data).

“As a result, David fished where the fish were, and avoided trying to suck the members off the community they were part of. Marketers are often measured on the amount of traffic they generate to their corporate website, but in this case, Intel will have to measure using different attributes such as interaction, viral spread, and maybe even a survey.

“Rather than coax users to your irrelevant corporate website, savvy brands will fish where the fish are.”

Dell Named Brand of the Year by SNCR

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The Society for New Communications Research named Dell brand of the year:

“The Brand of the Year is awarded to the organization that made the most significant advances in utilizing new communications and social media tools, technologies and practices.

“‘New media tools are quickly transforming the nature of business-customer relationships,’ commented Paul Gillin, SNCR Senior Fellow and host of the 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards program. ‘This year’s special award winners have the vision and success to provide a valuable example for others.’”

Congrats, Dell!

UPDATE 10/28: Jeremiah Owyang on some of the creative units Dell used.

Forrester's Owyang Calls BMW Drawing Contest Best of Social Network Marketing, 2008

Among Jeremiah Owyang’s Best and Worst Social Network Marketing round up, BMW’s Graffiti drawing contest in Facebook gets the top score.

BMW Submissions

Thanks, Jeremiah!

Jeremiah Owyang and AdRants on Dell's Embed-able, Subscribe-able, Share-able Video Ad

“Federated Media Packs Banner With Features And It Works” is the headline at AdRants. Thanks, AdRants!

Jeremiah Owyang says Dell has:

“taken the next step by assembling some of the winning drawings and created an emebeddable flash player that shows the art work being created in time-lapse style. Yes, you can see how the engaged community of artists hand drew each of these ads…. Now you should be sharing this with your creative team (see the initial case study) and start to think about how your brand can start listening to your customers –- and allowing them to tell your story, rather than you always having to use a megaphone.”

Congratulations, James Gross, Andrew Bowins and the rest of the crew at Dell and FM that put this together.

Jeremiah Owyang, MediaPost Cover Dell's Facebook Graffiti Contest

Jeremiah Owyang, at his site, writes up a case study of Dell’s Facebook Graffiti Contest, part of its ReGeneration campaign. His “what could have been better” section — that conversational campaigns should be given longer life spans, and that the content they produce should be given more exposure too — is worth a full read at his site. His summary of the campaign overall:

“Unlike most marketing campaigns that deploy heavy ads, fake viral videos, or message bombardment, this campaign let go to gain more. Overall, this is a successful campaign as they turned the action over to the community, let them take charge, decide on the winners, all under the context of the regeneration campaign. The campaign moved the active community from Facebook closer to the branded Microsite, closer to the corporate website, migrating users in an opt-in manner that lead to hundreds of comments was clever. Well done.”

And MediaPost’s Social Media Insider blog says:

“There are a lot of impressive stats here: 1.1 million people voted on their favorite illustration, 7,300 people entered a submission, the contest has almost 1,300 friends, and there are currently 209 comments to the post at ReGeneration.org announcing the winners. Clearly, Dell’s ReGeneration effort supports [FM CEO John] Battelle’s contention that social media may finally make online advertising much more interesting to users than the ongoing crop of forgettable banner campaigns.”

American Express Invests in Search Equity, Social Media Equity

Last fall (if not earlier), American Express recognized the importance of search equity, the status of its brand among the organic results from search engines. These results — the free ones, not the paid listings — are a proxy for the relevance and trust your brand has earned among its business ecosystem: customers, partners, the press and the peanut gallery. In other words, your brand’s position in search results reflects how active and successful you are in the conversation.

I say last fall because that’s when I first noticed American Express paying careful attention to the small-business authors and bloggers that rank highly on search results for SMB terms and phrases (including American Express trademarks), and making sure its ad messages surfaced on those high-influence sites.

Now American Express is making an even greater investment in its search equity, a greater commitment to having a voice within the small business conversation. It has partnered with top independent content creators covering small business — especially those authors who don’t merely create content but also use content to inspire a conversation — to produce the OPEN Forum Insight from Business Experts site.

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Authors such as Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, Scott Belsky of Behance.net and John Battelle of Searchblog are contributing exclusive content to the site. No plugs for Amex OPEN Forum Events or Travel Services from these contributors, mind you, just insightful editorial features on the topics Anita, Scott and John cover at their own sites. Content that appeals, quite obviously, to their existing audiences, which opens the door to efficient marketing in two ways. One, American Express is running ads on each site that invite readers to read more from the authors they came to read in the first place. Ads for original content by top business authors, targeted to those authors’ loyal readers? Needless to say, click-through performance on these ads is vastly better than average.

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Two, authors don’t want to publish content and then hide it from their core audiences, so American Express is benefiting from some unpaid (and un-asked-for) promotions, like this call-out by Anita Campbell to her own content at the OPEN Forum site.

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When audiences follow their favorite authors to the OPEN Forum site, they arrive ready for a conversation. A week in and visitors have clicked on the “I find this post useful” button more than 100 times, and the commenters are out-pacing the contributors based on word counts. Engaged visitors tend to carry the conversation with them, too, even as they leave the site that started it. According to Technorati, 17 blogs are linking to this section of the OPEN Forum site, and there have been news pick-ups by aggregators such as I Want Media (on 2/22/08). As more sites “endorse” the conversation by linking to it, Digging it and Twittering it, Google will take notice, and American Express’s search equity will feel the juice. And the 1% rule of social media suggests that for every comment post and every trackback link published, there are 99 others who quietly found the content useful. Search equity is the tip of the social-media iceberg — a partial indicator of a much larger phenomenon.

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180 Diggs

Jeremy Owyang Twitters Amex

Congratulations to the team that put this together: Steve Clark, Jason Ewell, Naama Ashkenazi Bloom, Amy Fitzgibbons and Lou Paskalis at American Express; Rachel Bogan, Lee Baler and Scott Cappuzzo at Digitas; and James Gross, Marcia Simmons, Matt Jessell and Teresa Nielsen Hayden at FM.

Disclosure: When Battelle isn’t writing Searchblog, he is FM’s CEO and my boss.

Party With FM Authors and Friends at SXSW

FM and Dell are hosting a party at SXSW along with Bulldog Solutions, The Conversation Group, and Social Media Club Austin: An Evening of “Conversation Starters.” Join us at the Iron Cactus in Austin, March 10 from 6:30 to 9:30pm. More details at Upcoming.

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Conversation starters will include Robert Scoble, Jeremiah Owyang, Joe Jaffe, Charlene Li, Shel Israel, Chris Heuer, Mack Collier, Lionel Manchaca, and a big crew from Federated Media.

And after we’ve lured you to town for the free booze and A-list drinking companions, stay for the great content. My colleague Neil Chase will be moderating a panel the next morning, Independent Success: Bloggers Who Made It, with Ken Fisher, Monish Bhatia, Danielle Friedland and Jill Fehrenbacher.