Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

The Evolution of Web-based Innovation

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Yesterday’s blog post talked about how to foster innovation in an organization. Of course, web-based technologies have been an excellent tool to foster innovation. And the advances are often evolutionary: The benefits achieved from a first-generation static website lay the foundation for further e-business innovations, allowing the business to eventually achieve full cross functional ebusiness process integration. [Click on below chart to enlarge.]

And then, all of the above web evolution was categorized as being “just” Web 1.0 … laying the foundation for Web 2.0 (social media). The evolution of social media then resulted in a spectrum of social apps (including country-specific versions).

In the private sector, B2B (business-to-business) firms can get innovative ideas from B2C (business consumer) firms – and vice versa! Likewise, in the government sector, web-based technologies can be leveraged in multiple ways to foster e-government, including G2C, G2E, G2B and G2G (government to citizen, government to employee, government to business and government to government). In each of these e-gov categories, activities will typically include pushing information, two-way communications,  conducting transactions and/or enabling governance. Analogous to the e-business evolutionary stages described in the above chart, e-government progresses through its own stages of maturation:

Although web-based innovation in the government sector has not always progressed as quickly as in the private sector, the proliferation of web, mobile, social and tablet technologies throughout the private sector have heightened the appetite for innovative evolution at all levels of government.  A more rapid pace of change is on the horizon. Indeed, a new Accenture e-government survey points out that the biggest challenge for government is not catching up with the private sector – it’s giving digital citizens what they want by using the “digital channel” to improve value delivered to the public.  To meet this goal, e-government needs to effectively:

  • Identify which channels are best for which types of interactions.
  • Address citizens’ concerns regarding privacy and security of their personal data and transactions.
  • Decrease the perception that the user experience for some digital interactions are too complex.
  • Cost-effectively make (non-digital) “human contact” available when appropriate.

Tomorrow’s blog post will look at the different types of innovations which organizations leverage.

– Tony Parham

Propagating an Innovator’s DNA

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Innovation is the lifeblood of many organizations.  Mastery of the art of innovation can mean the difference between success or failure; relevance or obsolescence.

It is important to note that innovation is not reserved for geniuses or Mensa members. Any organization can foster a culture of innovation by applying key principles:


  • Create ways to recognize/reward innovators
    • Money is important, but it is not the only motivator. Provide recognition, informal praise, and a chance to make a difference.
    • Bring innovators together to acknowledge their accomplishments publicly and to foster creative interaction and stimulus.
  • Assess what your “world” will look like 2, 5, 10 or 10 years from now. Work backwards from there to define several areas of innovation / disruption which you can create now.
  • Provide leadership role modeling.
  • Allow experimentation and failure.
  • Propagate an Innovator’s DNA (the ability to make connections between seemingly unconnected things)
    • Example: A calligraphy class inspired Steve Jobs’ emphasis on typography in early Macintosh computers.
    • Here are some techniques to stimulate these connections.  (You can remember them with the acronym NOOQE, which I rhyme with “nuke.”):
      • Networking: Interact with people from different backgrounds and different ways of thinking .
      • One way to think outside the box is to talk to someone who plays in a different box.
      • Observing: Watching the world around you for surprising stimuli.
      • Questioning: Ask probing questions which impose or remove constraints.
      • Experimenting: Consciously try new things or go to new places.

Another key technique is to crowd-source innovation: Don’t rely on one person (or a small group of persons) to come up with the innovative ideas. Create (or leverage) mechanisms which will pull innovative ideas from large numbers of people.  Today’s various social media platforms give us a prefabricated set of tools to do this. A more elaborate example is found in Dell Computer’s IdeaStorm initiative which implemented a web-based methodology of gathering ideas, and then provided a voting mechanism which allowed the most impactful ideas to rise to the top. 17,000 ideas were gathered. Those ideas attracted 730,000 votes and 95,000 comments which helped Dell to identify which ideas were most useful. Those top 499 (representing 3% of the 17,000 submitted ideas) have subsequently been implemented.

In all of your innovative activity, it is helpful to remember that the process goes through a typical Innovation Lifecycle:

The most painful part of this lifecycle is often the Operational Gap (O-Gap): The pilot /prototype must be effectively operationalized to achieve the promised gains.

The lifecycle also reminds us that every innovation has a finite lifespan. After a number of optimization iterations, that innovation may have become the new status quo, and it may be time to obsolete or repeat the innovation process.  This means that the innovation process is never truly complete.  An  innovative organization is one which recognizes that it can never rest on its laurels.  Innovation must be an ongoing, lifetime commitment.

Tommorow’s blog post will look at the evolution of web-based innovation.

– Tony Parham

[Photo: John Udovich]

Leveraging Tweet-Ups in Your Marketing Mix

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Joselin Mane is a long-term colleague of mine (from “back in the day” at Lotus and IBM).  He is also Chief Social Media Strategist of 451 Marketing and Co- Founder of @BostonTweetup.

Joselin  joined me on NML TV to talk about how to leverage tweet-ups in your marketing mix.  Check it out:

(If the video does not appear above, click here.)


A Peek at the New Marketing Labs Dashboard

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

On the most recent New Marketing Labs TV episode, I was joined by an all-star cast from New Marketing Labs to give a sneak peek at the New Marketing Labs dashboard.  The NML dashboard gives businesses the opportunity to monitor their social media activity and to assess the ROI of their digital marketing and social media marketing activities.

The NML dashboard gives summary/graphical information, allows you to see detailed posts/tweets, provides workflow capabilities, and more.

Oops! this is beginning to sound like an ad.  I guess you should just take a look at the video itself…

If you do not see the video above, please click here.

More info can be found at


Social Media Tips from Fast Company Magazine

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Recently (on New Marketing Labs TV)  I had the opportunity to interview Dan Macsai, Assistant Editor at Fast Company Magazine.  He shared some tips regarding how to effectively leverage social media.  Take a look at the below video to learn from one of the iconic business magazines on this topic.

Additional contact info:


Marketing Lessons from CES

Monday, January 17th, 2011
Dave Thomas and I discussed some marketing lessons from our recent participation in the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Check it out…


10 Commandments of Inbound Marketing (… and much more!)

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Lots has been going on since my last post on this blog.  Some of it has been captured elsewhere on the web, such as in the below posts at the New Marketing Labs website.  Click on a section title to check them out!

10 Commandments from the Inbound Marketing Summit

After recently returning from my first Inbound Marketing Summit (#ims10), where attendees received an engaging firehose of information over the course of 2 days, I put together the top 10 nuggets of information that I gleaned from the event:

In my last blog post, I shared the 10 Commandments from the Inbound Marketing Summit, which summarized key lessons from that event.  An additional key lesson, which was not explicitly articulated in that post, was the observation from Scott Stratten that: “People don’t share [spread] ‘Meh’ with their friends…they only share ‘Awesome!’ ”  Think about your social media activities.  When you read all those countless updates, from the various members of your social networks, you ignore most of them, nod your head along with some of them, but really only say “Wow!” regarding a few posts.  It is those few awesome posts that you feel that you absolutely must share with your friends and colleagues. [More…]

Using product videos in your social media marketing mix

As you work to create awesome content for your social media assets, video is a powerful content-type to leverage.  Here are examples of a few of the video types which can be leveraged. [More…]

In a recent blog post, Dave Thomas (my colleague at New Marketing Labs) talked about the exciting changes which are happening at New Marketing Labs, and about something called The Pulse.  You may have scratched your head and asked, “What is that about?”
I’m glad you asked!  [More…]
If you read yesterday’s post you heard me talk about our new organization, The Pulse Media Strategies (TPMS), and how it has been created to execute the content, community and marketplace (C+C+M) concept that you have been hearing more about.  “Okay,” you may say, “I get this content, community and marketplace thing, but I don’t understand these different organizations and their roles.”  Read on, and I will try to shed some additional light on this.  [More…]
Twitter: @tonyparham

Are Your Social Media Campaigns Effective?

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Recently, I presented on New Marketing Labs TV (NML-TV) on the topic of “Assessing ROI for Social Media Campaigns.”  I addressed the question which many folks ask, “Is my social media campaign effective?” I was joined on the show by Chris Penn, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at the Sky Factory and Nichole Kelly, Director of Social Media at CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Here are some of the tips which we gave on this topic:
  • First of all, you need to have an overall strategy in regards to your social media campaigns.  When crafting a strategy, you should keep the following in mind:
  • Define your target audience and get an in-depth understanding of their problems and questions
  • Become a trusted source of information for your target audience
  • Build an online presence with relevant content
  • Make it easy to transition the client from learning from you to buying from you
  • Measure results.
“Ok…”   You’re saying, that’s a good starting point.  “But, what type of results should I be looking for?”

Well, glad you asked.  Here are a few areas where people commonly look for results:
  • Exposure and buzz
  • Branding
  • Reputation management
  • Sales and new business
  • Exposure and traffic
  • Subscribers and repeat traffic
  • Links
  • Rankings
Now, all the above  are very interesting metrics, but my colleague Chris Penn would point out that you need to differentiate between diagnostic metrics and objective metrics:
  • Diagnostic Metrics: Tell you how the trip is going
  • Objective Metrics: Tell you when you have arrived at your destination.  And, at the end of the day, the most important objective metric is a financial ROI.
Of course, all business folks will tell you the simple formula used to calculate an ROI.  It is easily defined as ROI = (E – S) / S where E = “money you earned” and “S =  the money you spent.

When calculating the money you spent, be sure to include the “opportunity cost” of the time spent by personnel on the marketing campaigns.

Nichole Kelly gave us some good thoughts on other factors which we should consider when assessing the “money earned” and “money spent” variables, including:
  • Improved Customer Retention Rate
  • Decreased Operational Costs
  • Increased Usage of Self-Help Options
  • Customer “Saves” (turning around a previously dissatisfied customer)
  • Cross-sells
  • Improved Process Innovations
To learn more about all of these tips, please feel free to view the entire episode:

If you can’t see the video, you can find it over here:

You can delve even deeper into the calculation of ROI by reviewing this video and these worksheets from Chris.

You can tune into NMLTV live every Friday from 2-3p EST. Follow the conversation and jump in using #NMLTV on Twitter. If you missed any episodes, you can dig through the entire NMLTV archive.


Just Joined New Marketing Labs…

Monday, September 13th, 2010

For those of you who haven’t heard, I just joined New Marketing Labs as Executive Director.

New Marketing Labs (NML) is a leading digital marketing and social media agency.  Founded by New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and social communications pioneer Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs works with small, medium and large companies to develop strategies and implement campaigns that support bottom-line objectives.  Clients and partners include top brands like SAS, Citrix, Sony, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Nintendo, PepsiCo, NBC, Cisco, Intel, Titleist, and Pearson Education.

Built around an experienced staff with a track record of success in enterprise, entrepreneurial, B2B and B2C environments, New Marketing Labs focuses on a metrics-driven approach to generating awareness, increasing engagement, building brands and driving sales.  Headquartered outside Boston, MA, New Marketing Labs has a global outlook and reach, with the ability to service clients either directly or via partnerships across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

As Executive Director, I lead Business Development, Client Management and Product Management functions.

More news to come…

Developing a social media plan

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

In a recent Foley Hoag event, CXO Advisory Group‘s Stephen Davis shared his “10 steps to develop a social media plan” (which I have enhanced with some additional information):

#1 – Monitor the conversations which occur in the social-media-sphere regarding your brand.

#2 – Identify who your audience is and where they are.

  • Identify influencers and key contacts and follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs.
  • Learn the language which they use.

#3 – Define what your brand is.

  • Note that your personal brand may be more important than your organizational brand.
  • Often, in the social media sphere, you are the focus, not the company.
  • Identify what attributes set your brand apart.

#4 – Define what you are trying to accomplish

  • This may include: building brand awareness, generating leads, creating customer loyalty, selling a product/service, providing customer support.
  • Be sure that you identify metrics which will track your progress toward your goals.  Measure everything!

#5 – Identify what “success” is for you.

  • Yogi Berra infamously pointed out, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”

#6 – Select the appropriate tool to reach your audience.

  • Focus and start small.  Identify the number one main site that you need to be on initially.  And then expand from there.
  • is a tool which can assess traffic at various social media sites.
  • Think internationally. For example see in Europe, in Canada

#7 – Build your profile

In this order:

  • Create a presence
  • Build your online identity
  • Build your credibility and reputation
  • Become an expert source

[Tony’s note: Chris Brogan‘s “Trust Agents” book appears to provide a good tutorial on the topic of building trust. Disclaimer: I have not read the book, yet, but have a good sense of its contents from following Cris’ frequent blog postings.]

The most important component of your brand is your name.  Create account names that promote your brand.  Claim your brand in the universe of relevant social media sites. can check the availability of names across a wide array of social media sites.

#8 – Get involved, stay engaged

  • Join the conversations
  • Control your brand
  • React quickly and with transparency

Key principles:

  • Start small, be focused
  • Be human, natural
  • Be defined
  • Be honest (disclose affiliations)
  • Be consistent
  • Be interesting
  • Do not overtly sell
    [Tony’s note: Some say that you should have a 10:1 ratio of “informational posts” to “promotional posts.”]

#9 – Craft employee guidelines

  • Employees make mistakes. They need to know what to do.
  • Make your employees brand ambassadors.
  • Do not stifle them too much. (They usually want the firm to do well since they have a vested interest.)
  • Blogging policies should address: advice guidelines, attribution, copyright issues, content ownership, confidentiality, disclaimers, etc.)
  • General social media guidelines should address: boundaries, transparency, confidentiality, handling of financial information, consequences of inappropriate behavior, work use, handling of customer complaints, handling of competitive misinformation, handling of uncomplimentary reviews and articles)

#10 – Automate and optimize

Tools include:

In addition to the above 10 tips from Steve, here are some other useful resources and market data:

Additional contact info:
Webwww.TKGweb.comTwitter: @tonyparham