2010 in review – Dominique Hind’s Collective


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: Healthy blog! The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.   In 2010, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 105 posts. There were 29 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month. The busiest day of the year was August 10th with 230 views. The most popular post that day was LOOKING FOR AN ASSOCIATE DIGITAL PRODUCER – are you out there?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, withcollective.com, linkedin.com, and en.wordpress.com. Some visitors came searching, mostly for bp, dominique hind, who is using facebook, paperless billing, and apple newsletters

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Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

LOOKING FOR AN ASSOCIATE DIGITAL PRODUCER – are you out there? August 2010

2

Who am I? August 2008 25 comments

3

How companies are recognising customer’s birthday? Sephora email February 2010 1 comment

4

Overview of Apple’s email marketing June 2009 5 comments

5

Who is using Facebook? What are the stats? Check Facebook July 2009 3 comments

What else could Apple be doing in their emails?


As a summary to my review of Apple’s email marketing, there is really only one thing to look at: what else should Apple be doing with their email communications? Overall, like everything Apple does, it works. It is clean, simple and effective.

There really aren’t too many other things they should be doing. I have thought of three things they could be doing more of:

  1. Bundling: Apple have got their product emails sorted, they are clean and very focused, but there is a huge opportunity for bundling. They have started this with the latest uni newsletter. However, they can be doing this with so much more.
  2. Asking questions: Apple have never sent me a survey or asked me how I want to interact with them. I’m getting a combination of messages: software, product and event. I’m happy to receive all types, but they are all dry messages. I want something more. More content or more relevance to help me expand my knowledge.
  3. Tailor content: They know what products I have, but the messaging isn’t relevant to this, ie upgrade messaging rather than buy. Where is the accessories push or up-sell in all of these emails?

The common theme throughout these additions is the data smarts and intelligence. There really aren’t many companies getting that right within this space. Victoria Secret‘s and the other US retailers (Bluefly, GAP) are really pioneering the way. They are able to determine your site activity and marry it back to your data and actions, ie if you leave something in the shopping cart on their site, you get an email letting you know it is still there for a limited time.

Most companies think a blanket email (one email for all customers) is enough. With email being so cheap it means you can test things and really understand what works for consumers. The ideal would be to use email as a test bed before any of the above the line communications goes out. Similar to search, it gives you the opportunity to test real-time what is working with your customers before rolling it out with a bigger budget.

Due to the financial opportunity, I wonder if companies will start to realise this and place more importance on communicating to the customers they already have and using them as a test case before spending millions and millions of dollars on media and creative.

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What are the common elements in Apple’s emails?


As part of Apple’s ongoing customer communications, they send three different type of emails:

  1. Product: specifically relating to a new product launch or upgrade
  2. Software: similar to product, these types of emails relate to a new software launch or upgrade
  3. Event: these emails are around particular times of the year – Post Christmas, Valentine’s Day and return to uni.

Below is a review of each email type and the common themes for each.

PRODUCT EMAILS

Each of the product emails is slightly different, but there are some common elements to all of them:

  • Logo: the Apple logo always appears at the top. It’s only in the MacMini email that the logo appears as part of the computer screen. All other emails it appears either top left (majority) or top right with a lot of space around it.
  • Header: each header contains descriptive product text with a stong, clean product image. The MacMini email is the only one where the product image appears above the text.
  • Header CTA: the header has a strong call to action encouraging the user to ‘BUY NOW’ (in a button).
  • Imagery: each product email has a strong connection to the copy – all very large.
  • Content: under the header, the product content is diplayed in columns. Each column having copy with an image that reflects what is written. The columns vary from 2 to 4, depending on the product.
  • CTA: each email has a clear call to action at the bottom of the email. Replicating the similar format of all other emails: two boxes both promoting purchase – one online and the other instore.
Apple MacMini email - 19 March 2009

Apple MacMini email - 19 March 2009

Apple iPod/Shuffle email - 13 March 2009

Apple iPod/Shuffle email - 13 March 2009

Apple iMac email - 7 March 2009

Apple iMac email - 7 March 2009

Apple MacBook email - 26 Feb 2009

Apple MacBook email - 26 Feb 2009

SOFTWARE EMAILS

Each of the software emails is slightly different, but there are some common elements to all of them:

  • Logo: the Apple logo appears in the top left hand corner
  • Header: each header displays the name of the software in a very creative way and ensures the user knows what the email is about
  • Header CTA: the header has a strong call to action within it (button) either focusing on purchase or trial
  • Imagery: the MacBook Pro is used to bring the software to life via three separate computer, each featuring a different element of the software
  • Content: under each of the hero images there is some copy explaining the software. There are only a few lines, which are enough to read before moving down to the software features.
  • Features: the software features are highlighted with an image and then supporting copy. Both emails start with the image on the left hand side with copy to the right and for the next software feature it is reversed (copy on the left, imagery on the right).
  • CTA: each email has a clear call to action at the bottom of the email. Replicating the similar format of all other emails: two boxes both promoting purchase – one online and the other in-store.
Apple iLife email - 30 January 2009

Apple iLife email - 30 January 2009

Apple iWork email - 16 January 2009

Apple iWork email - 16 January 2009

EVENT EMAILS

Each of the event emails is slightly different, but there are some common elements to all of them:

  • Logo: the Apple logo appears at the top of the email, either top left or top right
  • Header: each header is a little different, but it heroes the product
  • Header CTA: the header has a strong call to action (button) focusing on ‘SHOP NOW’, which is different to the ‘BUY NOW’ buttons used in the above emails. I’m assuming this is because there are multiple products being communicated in these emails rather than just one.
  • Imagery: strong product shots are used for each email.
  • Content: under each of the hero images there is some copy introducing other products that might be relevant for the user. In the Valentine’s email, all of the content is iPod specific: Shuffle, iTunes Gift Cards and iPod Touch. In the December email, there is conent around the different product categories: iPod, Mac, iPhone and iPod & iPhone.
  • CTA: each email has a clear call to action at the bottom of the email. Replicating the similar format of all other emails: two boxes both promoting purchase – one online and the other in-store.
Apple Valentine's email - 27 January 2009

Apple Valentine's email - 27 January 2009

Apple Valentine's email - CTA

Apple Valentine's email - CTA

Apple Post Christmas email - 31 December 2008

Apple Post Christmas email - 31 December 2008

Apple December email - CTA

Apple December email - CTA

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LEARNINGS

Based on reviewing the above emails there are some learnings that we can take out of Apple’s email communications:

  • Different types of communications: Ensure that you have a framework that allows for more than just product emails. There needs to be a combination of emails that are sent to the consumer. The ideal combination is product and event. Both educating and pushing sales.
  • Set guidelines rather than templates: guidelines have more flexibility than templates, therefore it is important to set some guidelines for your email communications. These should details: logo treatments, header options, use of imagery, use of content, CTA, privacy, etc.
  • Product shots are key: most clients don’t have the budget to do a photo shoot for emails, but maybe they should. The key to all of these emails is the imagery and it’s simplicity.

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The Viral Formula – what works?


Viral campaigns are still the flavour of the month (and year) because clients have the perception that they are FREE or low cost. This may be true for the media component, but any viral campaigns that has a high pass-on effect still needs to be built on a great idea (and with that usually comes a high production cost). Viral campaigns must be stand out ideas for them to gain momentum. Not only do they need to be great ideas, but they must be nurtured. Nurtured to seed the idea out there and ensure that as many people see it as possible.

When I was working at Wunderman, my Creative Director (Jon-Paul Jacques) and I came up with a formula that best predicts the success of viral campaigns:

Viral = (PCF)2, where

  • P = Personal – using your name or personal details in the viral campaign (examples of this are: CSI: NY launch campaign and Mini Have a word)
  • P = Perverse – the politically correct way for saying porn (an example of this is: Paris Hilton burger launch)
  • C = Cool – anything you would be happy to forward on to your friends because you will be seen as finding things first (examples of this are: Mentos and Pepsi experiment, VW Golf and Hotmail launch)
  • C = Carnage – this builds on shows like Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. People love watching others hurt themselves.
  • F = Funny – most funny viral have been publish on YouTube (examples of this are: Trojan Games and Calton’s Big Ad)
  • F = Freaky – anything that makes you question what you have seen or turns your stomach a little (an example of this is: CSI: NY launch)

A viral success depends on the creative idea, but if it has one or more of the following it is more likely to be successful.

Here are some interesting articles on viral:

Viral marketing influence spheres

Viral marketing influence spheres

The things to remember about viral:

  • Must be a great idea
  • Viral doesn’t necessarily mean free
  • Nurture the campaign to get it out there.

Written by Dominique Hind

Campaign set-up vs maintenance: what’s a fair split?


As an industry we are stuck in the ‘set and forget’ mentality. As soon as a campaign goes live, we all quickly pat ourselves on the back and move on to the next campaign, only thinking about the campaign when there is downtime (not often) or the campaign is close to finishing. The reason for this is that often there is no consistent process or methodology behind implementing a continuous learning culture. Unless maintenance/optimisation is ingrained in the people working on the campaign, it really doesn’t happen.

To try and change this mentality (both within the client and internally at the agency), we have recently introduced a 80:20 split with our clients. From their overall campaign budget, 80% is dedicated to the initial set-up of the campaign and 20% is dedicated to the ongoing maintenance/optimisation. Ideally, the split should be 60:40, but until we can prove the benefits, 80:20 is a good start.

What’s included in campaign set-up? Set-up is the initial campaign creation. It’s the awareness generating elements (online advertising, offline advertising, 1-to-1 advertising, social networking) and the engagement elements (microsite, corporate landing pages, stores).

What’s included in campaign maintenance/optimisation? Maintenance/optimisation is any updates made to the campaign after launch. It’s the creative optimisation to the awareness elements (rotation and testing of all executions – online being easier and quicker to test and understand results) and results optimisation to the engagement elements (content structures based on search results – both externally and on the site, creative testing and rotation.

WORD OF WARNING

To make sure this is a success, the following need to be considered:

  1. Owner – there must be an owner within the agency to drive this. The best person to do that is either a Data Director or the Account Director. Equally, there needs to be an owner on the client side. Someone who understands the numbers (ROI, CPA, CPC) and the need for making campaigns a success.
  2. Benchmarks – initially, there must be some targets or benchmarks set. Over time these benchmarks will become more realistic after campaign data has been collected and analysed. During the first campaign period, it is critical to ensure that the benchmarks are revisited and molded to reflect the results.
  3. Consistency – all communications (reports, results) must be delivered in a consistent manner: same time frame, format, benchmarks and structure. This will help the client and agency to understand recommendation, requirements, improvements and work more seamlessly together.
  4. Relevance – any recommendations made within maintenance/optimisation must be relevant to the client and the campaign. The recommendations must also be achievable within the remaining budget.
  5. Budget – to ensure the maintenance/optimisation budget doesn’t disappear to fund additional media or other creative ideas, it must be included in the original estimate and signed off by the client. This ensures that the campaign will be remembered and not just put on the ‘set and forget’ shelf.

SUMMARY

The set-up/maintenance strategy is extremely important, particularly now with the current economic downturn. The best and worst thing about interactive is it’s accountability and we can justify why we recommend doing things and what the direct impact is on our clients results.

Written by Dominique Hind.

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What’s working on my blog? Stats update


I’m a frustrated accountant and with that comes a love for numbers, whether they be campaign stats, JCRs or my own blog stats. I have had a couple of conversations with people about my blog stats, what’s working, what hasn’t, what I need to continue to do and what the average daily traffic is.

I haven’t done any in-depth campaign analysis or planning for what I need to be doing to drive more traffic based on popular posts, search terms or referring URLs. Below are all of the stats that relate to my blog and some key learnings and actions I have taken out of reviewing these stats (scroll to the bottom for learnings).

BLOG TRAFFIC – DAILY

Dom Hind Blog Traffic Day - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog Traffic Day - as at 1 November

The huge spike was due to people investigating my blog after I commented on other popular blogs about topics I had written posts on. Traffic over the weekend dips, but as soon as new content is added on the Monday it usually goes up to higher levels than the previous Monday (except while I was on holiday when there was no new content).

BLOG TRAFFIC – WEEKLY

Dom Hind Blog Traffic Week - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog Traffic Week - as at 1 November

The peak was due to offline media coverage (Australian article and new job notification). The second peak is due to the commenting on others blogs, as detailed above.

TRAFFIC REFERRERS

Dom Hind Blog Referers - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog Referrers - as at 1 November

StumbleUpon has been the biggest driver of traffic to my blog. StumbleUpon is used as a downtime tool, therefore meaning the users spend more time investigating your blog (more time reading multiple posts). The other big driver of traffic is social networks (my own dedicated area). Within each social network, I have updated my URL or even my status to include my blog URL.

SEARCH TERMS

Dom Hind Blog search terms - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog search terms - as at 1 November

The most popular search terms that are driving traffic through are different derivatives of my name, whether it is my name by itself, connected to the blog, the blog URL or misspellings of my name. Overall, there have been 167 ‘Dominique Hind‘ related searches that have driven traffic to my blog. It is interesting that there haven’t been any searches for ‘Dominique Layton‘, my maiden name. The other search terms aren’t driving a high volume of traffic through to the site, but one thing to note is that there are so many different combinations.

MOST POPULAR POSTS

Dom Hind Blog top posts - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog top posts - as at 1 November

The posts that have received the most traffic are around my credentials: Who am I? Where have I been? Industry involvement. This makes sense due to me changing jobs. The non-me related posts that have driven the most traffic are around: emails, driving traffic, Dell Idea Storm, training and viral. It’s interesting that people are interested in email and what’s working [note to self: write more email related posts].

CLICK THROUGHS (LEAVING BLOG)

Dom Hind Blog Top clicks - as at 1 November

Dom Hind Blog Top clicks - as at 1 November

I’m really happy that Downstream is the number one clicked through site. The interesting thing is that there are only two links to Downstream in my blog: one on the Where have I been? page right at the bottom and the other in the blogroll under search. It shows that some people are reading all of the content in Where have I been?.

LEARNINGS

  1. Offline coverage – This is definitely the biggest driver of traffic to my blog. I need to invest more time in writing offline pieces to help drive traffic online.
  2. Weekend traffic – As expected over the weekend, the traffic dips to an all time low. A lot of people aren’t looking at work related blogs or information over the weekend. To try and keep traffic consistent, it’s the perfect time to comment on blogs in the US/UK where there is a bigger population and potentially play the numbers game.
  3. Monday traffic – Traffic to my blog is always highest on a Monday, usually after I have had time to prepare a new post over the weekend. To make sure this continues, I need to ensure there is a new blog post every Monday to get people in the behaviour of checking my blog when they get back into the office.
  4. Commenting – When you comment on other blogs, it really does help to drive a huge amount of traffic to your blog (second only to offline coverage). Before I went on holiday, I spent some time on the weekend commenting on others blogs, the following week the traffic was really high even without any new content. I need to comment more on other blogs.
  5. StumbleUpon – Submit your site to StumbleUpon. After you have written what you think will be a popular posts, submit it to StumbleUpon. One thing to be careful of is not over submitting. I submitted every post on my blog and the traffic being directed through halted for three weeks and has only recently starting directing traffic again. My learning from this is being more consistent with submitting rather than submitting multiple posts at the same time.
  6. Social networks – Whenever you join a new social network, make sure you reference your blog URL. Interested friends, colleagues and associates will go and check out what you are writing about (even if it is only once). Tweets don’t drive traffic, but having your URL in your Twitter profile works. Updating your status and including your blog URL helps to drive a lot of traffic.
  7. Own name – The biggest driver of traffic from search has come from my name. Therefore, showing that most traffic is coming to understand who I am and what I have done (most would be attributed to starting a new job). It shows that a blog is the best CV you can have (more on that later).
  8. Tagging – Users arrive at my blog through so many different keyword combinations. It’s hard to tell what the most popular ones would be, so it’s important to include as many different tags and combinations on every post.
  9. Popular posts – The marketing posts that have been the most popular are about email, driving traffic, Dell Idea Storm, training and viral marketing. I need to make sure I am writing more of these posts and then referring to them on others blogs.

Overall, it’s so interesting assessing all elements of your blog and looking at what else you can be doing.

RELATED BLOG POSTS (MINE)

Written by Dominique Hind (nee Layton)

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London International Awards – the best entries (part 1)


Below is a collection of the work from the London International Awards. These are examples of the campaigns I really liked. This is only part 1, part 2 will follow soon and the award entries that were wonderful will also be upload shortly (over the weekend).

Computer Bild

I love this entry. The idea and execution are brilliant. It is for the magazine Computer Bild where 33 emails were sent simultaneously. Each with their own subject line that helped to form the skull below. The content in each email was a message about spam and security. Easily one of my favourite entries.

Computer Bild Magazine - Creative work

Computer Bild Magazine - Creative work

Computer Bild Magazine - creative idea

Computer Bild Magazine - creative idea

Dove

While games have been done to death, I really liked the simplicity of this idea. All of the space invader characters were humans and all interactions (ammunition, killing) were animated with humans.

Dove Human Space Invaders - creative entry

Dove Human Space Invaders - creative entry

Fanta

Fanta World (World of Orange) was very cute. The simplicity of the designs and ring tone creator (see below) were the best features of this. The idea was good, the ring tone creator using kitchen appliance sounds was the best element of the website.

Fanta World - Ring tone creation

Fanta World - Ring tone creation

Another site using a video hostess to explain the use of the site. I like this for its video.

Live Academy (great use of video)

Live Academy (great use of video)

Lost

This is one of the best TV sites I have seen for a while (my all time favourite is the CSI:NY launch site). This was created in Japan for Lost season 2. It allows the user to find what sections they missed and watch on screen. You are not limited to watch the whole show, if you only want to watch 5mins.

Lost TV site - scenes from the series

Lost TV site - scenes from the series

Written by Dominique Hind

Client & Agency feedback – what is the role?


After sitting through two rounds of client/agency feedback, it made me realise what a missed opportunity it was to promote the great clients we work with and address a lot more of the concerns that people are usually too shy to bring up in a one-to-one environment.

While answering the client/agency survey, I was too worried in getting through the three surveys that needed to be answered rather than thinking about how it could really benefit us. I think it was because I was still in my flu induced state of mind…….

Top five learnings from the review:

  1. Pre-meeting – It is essential to meet with the team prior to answering the questions and detail all of the projects you have worked on over the past survey period. Highlight the good, bad and areas for improvement for both the client and the agency. It is good to discuss what comments you think are relevant and common themes that need to be addressed.
  2. Homework – Think about what you want to convey before putting it in writing. Any comments will be shown to everyone, even though they are anonymous.
  3. Client champions – Highlight who the key clients are that have been champions for the agency. Make sure you detail why they have been agency champions and how they have helped make the job easier.
  4. Agency champions – Highlight who the key agency staff are that have been champions for the agency and promoted integration, effectiveness and creativity. Make sure you detail why they have been agency champions and how they have helped make the job easier.
  5. Comments – The more detailed your comments are the better. It is painful filling out so many areas, but every comment is important.

Next client/agency review, I am actually going to take the time to plan. think and detail what the key themes are, the people we need to highlight and ensure the rest of the agency/team are aligned.

Written by Dominique Hind

Australian Politicians, where are you online?


Most of the US election campaigning has been played out online. Hilary and Obama both used their communities and networks extremely well online. They gathered their supporters and they kept them updated on policy amends, gatherings and opinions. Rather than their online focus being inconsistent and dipping in and out, they were extremely focused on making sure everyone was updated constantly.

During the 2007 Australian election campaign, Kevin Rudd experimented with more online tactics than John Howard. It was a good trial, but nothing as conclusive as what the American’s are doing now. It showed that Rudd was a little more in touch with the younger voter and could leverage his supporters WOM (word of mouth) power, however, he still didn’t get it 100%.

There were a few missed opportunities by the Labour and Liberal parties:

  1. Constant presence online – Rather than having a static website or one that is updated with minor superficial updates, there needs to be something else to capture voters minds…….and votes. The ideal would be for a political blog (or microblog), detailing the daily/weekly events, thoughts and responses to tricky questions that have come up during the day or themes that are coming out online/through press or articles.
  2. Consistency within the party – Not one party had everyone aligned with what to do and communicate online. The ideal would have been to get the whole party using the same online platforms (video, blogging, websites, social networking, etc) and ensuring consistency with their online presence and communication. For example, during the election the Liberal party should have developed an overarching or umbrella campaign that communicated the do’s and don’ts of any online communications. There should have been a single platform (digital hub) where all of the ‘celebrity’ or ministerial politicians should have updated their daily events and trials.
  3. Leverage social networks – there are so many Facebook pages and groups dedicated to political parties and politicians. The political parties need to use and leverage these. Getting involved with these will give the owner of the groups the satisfaction that they are being heard and people are getting involved.
  4. Monitor the noise – the political parties had the perfect environment to monitor what were the sticking points and what were the topics that were getting the most coverage online. The easiest way to do this is via monitoring blogs, forums and using one of the free PR monitoring applications (see future posts for more on these free apps). The hardest thing is analysing the themes and topics that are most important.

There is a huge opportunity for an agency in Australia to work with the political parties to help them understand what they should be doing online and develop an ongoing umbrella strategy that they can all work towards.

Here are some of the political reference sites from the US and one from the politically correct, UK.

Written by Dominique Hind

Why blog? Data repository, search tests & a PR machine!


To be honest, I had three motivations for starting this blog.

The first was to capture all of my thoughts in one central location rather than having them in seven different social bookmarking sites or social networks. We are always telling our clients they need a single customer database, so this blog is my single thought database….

The second was to do a search optimisation test. I am fascinated by search and constantly craving more knowledge about it. An old wives tale (or industry myth) about search engine optimisation is that it takes 2 – 3wks for a blog to be found by a search engine where as it takes up to 3mths for a website. I wanted to test the 2 – 3wks theory.

On day 2 of this blog, I did a search for ‘Dominique Hind’ and it was already the top ranked site and the supporting posts were ranked underneath it. I was amazed and also a little excited.

The third reason was that for most of my career, people knew me by my maiden name, Dominique Layton. I had written a lot of articles, contributed to a lot of posts, judged a lot of award shows, spoken at a lot of events and when I changed my name all of this PR and brand value (he he) was lost. But now, with blogging you can create your own PR and build on your brand value with worrying about what your name use to be or where you use to work. A blog is all you need to promote yourself and your thoughts.

So if/when I ever apply for another job, I will not be sending a CV through, I will be sending a link to my blog because it gives prospective employees an overview of who I am, what I am interested in and what I believe in without them ever having to meet me. They can judge if I am a good fit for them and potentially I can judge if I fit with them.

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So in summary, blogging is not only a very cleansing activity, it is great to house all of your knowledge within the one central place, it allows you to conduct search tests on particular keywords and influence rankings on your own brand, and it also allows you to manage your own PR! Why wouldn’t you blog?

Written by Dominique Hind

New starter checklist (process, process, warmth)


There are so many things that need to be done before a new person comes on board that it’s worth putting together a checklist of everything you need to share. One of the most critical things to do before starting the checklist, is to stop and think about your first day and how it was:

  • What was good?
  • What was bad?
  • What was different?
  • What did you expect?
  • What would you change?

On your first day, you expect people to make a fuss, understand a little more about you and start the new relationship on a high. In reality, most places are dying for you to get there (they have waited four weeks while you served out your notice period) and don’t think too long or hard about what it is like for a new person walking into the place.

The new person is leaving behind processes, people and a company they may have spent a lot of time with and they feel like they are taking a risk joining a new company, with new processes, people and environment. It is a big deal, so you need to make them feel welcome. The more welcomed (and inducted) people are into a place the more likely they are to reciprocate to other new employees and share the love when they start.

The one thing I remember about my first week at Mark (M&C Saatchi) was that no one took me out for lunch, I was shown where the food court was and then had to fend for myself. I did write about this on my blog and the next day, a lunch was organised and most people attended. It was great. I felt special and secure, which is exactly what any new person wants in their first week.

Below is a simple checklist of everything that should be thought about when a new person starts:

The boring stuff: INTERNAL APPROVAL

To ensure the new persons’ first day isn’t their last, there are a few financial requirements that must be checked prior to them starting. These include:

  • What clients will they be working on?
  • Are they covered by retainer or out of scope work?
  • If retained, what percentage of time? If not, how will their time be recovered? (For advertising agencies, the minimum is about 65% billable.)
  • Have you allowed for salary on-costs in the amount? (For advertising agencies, this is around about 10%)
  • Will putting someone on full-time allow the freelance costs to be reduced? If so, by how much?

The fun stuff: FIRST DAY

Whenever a new person starts, most companies assume that someone within their team will show them everything – all the details, the people to avoid, places to eat, process, etc. However, most companies show new starters not as much as they need. Therefore, this checklist is a minimum of what is needed (no doubt there are a lot more things to include):

  • Admin – email signature, voicemail set up, stationery, security passes, kitchen, bathroom, shower, bike rack (very, very important)
  • Process – department processes, client processes
  • Finance – timesheets, pay details, tax file number
  • IT – computer passwords, email client, intranet
  • Client – key contacts, previous work, guidelines, expectations, relationship status, client contract summaries (retainer vs billed work), rate cards, previous billings
  • Expectations – role expectations, company expectations
  • People – introductions to heads of departments, daily contacts, finance, office admin, IT
  • Company – culture, corporate events (Friday afternoon drinks, lunch time sport), vision, philosophy
  • Location – closest dry cleaner, pharmacists, food court, running track (very important)

This is by no means a complete list, so please feel free to send any other critical things that need to be included on the checklist.

Written by Dominique Hind

What’s involved in a Social Marketing Strategy?


There is a lot of work involved in keeping a social marketing strategy fresh. It requires time and resources, similar to any other campaign, to ensure that the content (copy, images and video) are kept updated and all comments responded to. You can’t ‘set and forget’ social marketing, someone needs to be monitoring any noise/comments constantly. This is especially true if there is negative PR and press about brands.

There is so much to get right and it an evolving process where learnings are continuous. All learnings you get, whether positive or negative, help refine and develop what you need to be doing with social marketing. Similar to most things, the more mistakes you make the better you will get at social marketing.

A blog post written by Hjörtur Smárason suggests that there are six common mistakes made by companies in social marketing. They include:

  1. Not listening
  2. Not adding any value
  3. Faking it
  4. Using traditional media tactics in social media
  5. Building the network too late
  6. Not investing

A great example of a company wanting to get involved with social marketing, but not totally understanding the implications, is a large Australian telco. This telco invited feedback on one of their brand sites, but hasn’t got the processes set up behind the scenes to ensure any comments or feedback is taken on board and fed back into the company. They are trying to change things internally so they can listen to their customers and improve their service.

A company that has got it right is Dell with their Idea Storm. This is easily one of my favourite social marketing/blogging examples. When they initially started their blog, they got it so wrong and over time they have used their learnings to refine what they are doing. Dell dipped their toe into the water at the time when they were having problems with their batteries (in particular blowing up on planes). They needed to do something because people started blogging about how bad the customer service was and how crap the product was. Their first response was a blog called Direct to Dell. Unfortunately this was a one-way blog where all comments were moderated prior to appearing on the blog. This caused a lot of uproar and in response they developed Idea Storm, which helps to contain any negativity, generate new product development and monitor consumer sediment towards their products. BRILLIANT! The perfect customer service, research and product development tool.

DEVELOPING YOUR SOCIAL MARKETING STRATEGY

There are five things you need to do before getting involved with social marketing:

  1. Understand the market – What is happening? Who is talking or making the most noise? Where are the noises being posted? Is it corporates or individuals talking the most? What are they saying about competitors? (see hints below)
  2. Define why – What is the purpose for getting involved? Is it commercial, CSR or other? What do you want to get out of it? What are the objectives? What is the vision? What are you hoping to achieve? Customer insights? Customer feedback? Customer learnings? Advocacy?
  3. Moderation – How is what you put out there going to be moderated? How often is it going to be moderated? When will it be moderated? Do you have the resources to moderate it? How will you respond to comments? Will you remove comments or respond to negative feedback?
  4. Feedback – How will the feedback be fed back into the company? Who will lead the project? Who will lead the response to feedback? How will you communicate that the feedback has been heard? How will you update the audience on the progress of the feedback?
  5. Maintenance – What else do you want to add? How often do you want to update/refresh content?

UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET

Before getting involved with social marketing it is critical to understand the space. There are several free tools available to help you know what consumers are saying about brands, including:

  • Dipity – after typing in a keyword (or your clients brand), it provides an overview of the word on a timeline – taking YouTube and Flickr into account. If you type in Qantas the images you see go back to photos taken in 1960, see details below:
Timeline of all Qantas tagged photos on Flickr using Dipity

Timeline of all Qantas tagged photos on Flickr using Dipity

  • Powerset – allows you to search through Wikipedia and track all of the content about a particular topic. Again Qantas was used for this search (see below) and it brings back relevant company information and comments about the airline.
Qantas results from Wikipedia using Powerset

Qantas results from Wikipedia using Powerset

Written by Dominique Hind
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