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We kicked off our 2nd annual Movers & Shapers event (last year known as Geekfest) on Saturday here during SXSW. This one featured several people I’m lucky to call friends. As Bob Pearson mentioned, we chose this list of speakers because many of them are shaping the future of business in this digital age.

Thanks to our clients, partners and sponsors and W2O employees who made today (and our other #SXW2O events) possible. Below are a few highlights from each of the speakers.

  • Javier Boix, Senior Director, StoryLab, AbbVie
    Javier discussed activating a storyline paradigm (see his pre-interview here). When he and the team thought about how to move AbbVie in the storytelling realm, they knew they had to approach things differently. That’s why they created StoryLab.  For AbbVie, StoryLab = Content Development + Media Relations + Digital + Measurement. Tune into the Movers & Shapers livestream at just over the 9 minute mark to see Javier’s session.

Jesse Knish Photography Jesse Knish Photography

  • Michael Jarjour, CEO, ODH, Inc
    Michael joined us to talk about how Data is Improving Mental Health. He sat down with our own Bob Pearson to discuss Michael’s passion, how we transform behavioral and health. Key challenges in behavioral health are resource constraints and highly fragmented data. Mentrics is a tool that combines ODH’s risk assessment data along with data of the complex care patients to find out which patients are most at risk.  From a data perspective, payers are the most important component. How does the risk stratification process work? Michael explained that the ODH team had worked on the solution for four years. It identifies the high-cost patient population to track cost drivers over a year. The goal is to help health care providers figure out which patients are at risk and provide insights into the kind of treatment that can best affect outcomes. It’s about identifying 1) which patients need the most help 2) what kind of help do they need? 3) How can we help? Tune into the Movers & Shapers livestream at about the 23 minute mark to see their discussion.

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  • Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing, Sysomos
    I’ve known Amber a long time. She’s someone I’ve always had a great deal of respect for. Now even more so after hearing her talk about embracing imperfection. Everyone talks about transparency and authenticity. Amber nails both. She lives and breathes social engagement and analytics. Much of her talk centered around Impostor Syndrome. It refers to “high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as “fraud.” In 2011, she was riding high when Radian6 was purchased by Salesforce, she had a successful book and was well-known for the social engagement work that she was a part of. During her next step is when she starting struggling those negative feelings of self-doubt. Especially as so many of her peers in the social space appeared to be at the top of their game. That period led her to do research on the topic. She quickly found in her interviews that Impostor’s Syndrome affects everyone… men, women, all ages, etc. Even extremely successful people like best-selling author Stephen King. Bottom line, Amber’s currently focused on making this topic as her next book. I hope she’s successful on that front and applaud her for having the courage to share with the folks here at our event.  You can check out Amber’s session at about the 39 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.
Jesse Knish Photography
  • Ray Kerins, SVP Head of Communications & Government Relations, Bayer
    Ray’s topic of discussion was the Criticality of Intellectual Property. Ray did something I wasn’t expecting. He made a talk about IP pretty lively and engaging. He started his session by acknowledging that most people’s eyes glaze over when they hear about patents and IP. He defined IP as the set of laws that protect individuals and companies who have created a unique product or thing. It’s important to all of us because it protects innovation. Ray cited one of the most difficult aspects of IP is the un-evenness of laws around the world. While those in the United States are decent, several countries outside the US have very weak laws, and in some cases, those laws can be difficult to enforce. Ray is a board member of the US Chamber of Commerce and he’s also a member of the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC). GIPC’s sole responsibility is to make sure the IP laws around the world help protect innovation created in America. According to Ray, IP creates job. He referenced several reports compiled by GIPC. One such report is the International IP Index, which ranks the world’s countries in terms of levle of IP protection. In other words, to track the places where counterfeiting is the biggest problem. Surprises? Venezuela is the country that currently ranks the highest on that list. India is #2. Another surprise? China currently ranks  17th on the list. Ray attributed China’s going down on the list (improving) to the Chinese government’s active efforts to strengthen their IP laws and enforcing those laws. You can check out Ray’s session just about the 50 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.
Jesse Knish Photography
  • Michele Skelding, SVP Global Technology and Innovation, Austin Chamber of Commerce
    Michele’s topic was The Next Big Thing? Disruptive Innovation in ATX. Michele has lived in Austin for the last 20 years and has worked in technology for most of that time. She joined the Austin Chamber of Commerce about three years ago with the goal of bringing her tech expertise to the city. Michele mentioned that the average age in Austin was 33. The city has a population of about 1.9 million people, of which 415,000 are students. What’s one of the most important things the city can do to keep those students here? Create jobs that they’ll want to stay here for. As a city, that means we have to be on target with our business benefits. Add it all up and Austin is expected to be one of the fastest growing cities until 2025. Michele ended with a plea for those of us in Austin to get engaged in terms of the future of the city. Along those lines, she mentioned recent headlines where Austin proposed city ordinances are creating barriers for companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in this city. One more thing: Thanks to Michele for making the introduction to Hugh Forrest and making that PreCommerce fireside chat possible. You can check out Ray’s session just about the 1 hour 27 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.

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  • Robert Scoble, Entrepreneur in Residence, UploadVR
    Robert is another person I’m fortunate to know pretty well. Robert’s book Naked Conversations (that he co-authored Shel Israel) had a big impact on me when I was gearing up to take the reins at Direct2Dell back in 2006. Robert’s one of the best in the business about what’s next in technology. Look at his other books as an example. Age of Context focused on how sensors and big data will continue to impact business. He and Shel are currently working on their third book called Beyond Mobile. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is not surprisingly one of the main topics that book will cover. Fresh off the news that he’s joining UploadVR as their Entrepreneur in Residence, Robert dove right into the topic of virtual reality and augmented reality. He discussed companies like Magic Leap and Meta that will play a part in the future, as well as other established tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google. This technology is already showing up in our world… self-driving cars use sensors and tons of data to map the world around them. Heavy machinery company Caterpillar is already using AR to help train mechanics on repairs. According to Robert, augmented reality (where we interact with virtual objects superimposed on top of real-world objects) is going to have the biggest impact. We’re still 3 – 5 years away from the truly ground-breaking stuff that will occur has hardware gets smaller, faster and cheaper. It’s coming though, and in my opinion, there’s much to look forward to. You can check out Robert’s session at about the 1 hour 38 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.
Jesse Knish Photography
  • Patrick Moorhead, President and Principal Analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy
    Patrick’s topic was The Future of Healthcare is Closer Than it May Appear. Before becoming an industry analyst, he spent over 20 years in the tech business, focused on things like product management, product marketing and strategy. For 15 years he served on the board of St. Davids’s Medical Center and the Austin Heart Hospital (where he also chaired the board for five years). Besides sing the bureaucracy first hand, he was struck by the number of people so passionate about helping others. He mentioned that we spend over $3 trillion dollars in Healthcare annually. An estimated 90% of that goes toward chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. And an estimated 80% of those could be prevented with better healthcare along with personal responsibility. He also said the biggest issue in healthcare is the disconnect between payment and service. During the session, he called out that Moor Insights was welcoming Yuri Teshler to lead the Healthcare vertical  You can check out Patrick’s session at just over the 1 hour 58 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.
Jesse Knish Photography
  • Natanya Anderson, Sr. Marketing Director, 365 by Whole Foods Market
    Natanya talked about the Mandate to Innovate, which is a good topic for her given how much she has done inside the walls of Whole Foods before taking on the charter to expand their 365 effort. She touched on disruption and called out Whole Foods’ recent investment in Instacart as an example of how Whole Foods is working with innovative companies instead of against them. Figuring how to innovate inside a big brand was something she struggled with at first. Her light bulb moment came when she spoke at the Foresight & Trends Conference about 18 months ago. She spoke to many people there who were part of innovation groups, or in some cases, even innovation business units. Many of them spent time analyzing trends to help figure out what areas lend themselves to innovation within their respective companies. That’s when it hit her. Instead of thinking, “How do I get that (innovation) job?” She realized the better question was, “How do I make innovation part of my job?” She started by establishing a mandate to innovate for herself. That’s when she starting actively looking for places where Whole Foods could innovate. Then she extended the that intention to innovate to her entire team. She found that some people on her team were more receptive to it than others. The tipping point was when she tied innovation to the team’s goals overall and they worked as a group to figure out how to measure the innovation part of their efforts. Hint: It wasn’t ROI. You can check out Natanya’s session at just over the 2 hour 14 minute mark of the Movers and Shapers livestream.
Jesse Knish Photography

Check back soon to learn more from other speakers and what amazing insights they offered at Movers & Shapers!

 

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Lionel Menchaca currently serves as Director of Corporate & Strategy at W2O Group. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or reach out to him on Twitter at @LionelGeek!


 

Learn more about W2O Group:  About  Work  Contact.

As I mentioned in my kickoff post, we will host a series of blog interviews over the next two weeks with speakers from our upcoming PreCommerce Summit (March 10) and Movers & Shapers Summit (March 12). Today’s interview starts with the CMO of Sysomos, Mark Young.

According to Mark’s LinkedIn profile, prior to joining Sysomos as their CMO he has worked in various roles such as EVP of Marketing solutions at Clear Channel Outdoor, Senior Director of Business Development at Intellectual Ventures and GM at Microsoft (who are those guys?). He’s also been endorsed for such topics as “strategic partnerships, management, business development, leadership, marketing and SaaS.” Not too shabby!a - MarkYoung

Without further ado, let’s jump right into our five questions:

  1. Aaron: How do you define innovation?
    Mark: I believe only true step functions can be innovation, the rest is evolution, which is great, but I like to save it for unique ideas.
  2. Aaron: What are you or your organization doing to drive innovation?
    Mark: Culturally we have built a company where all employees feel they have the ability to listen and create, not just the Data Scientists and Engineers. We had an internal hack-day a few weeks ago and we saw six ideas that were truly different uses of our data science and current technology.
  3. Aaron: Who is someone in your industry (or outside) that you admire? Why?
    Mark: Always my father… but inside the Industry there are so many. I was fortunate to work at Microsoft and got to see Bill Gates not only transform a business but turn that passion into greater good for the world. I feel like Sheryl Sandberg is doing that now. And as a father of a 22 year old woman who loves science, I really admire what Sheryl’s doing.
  4. Aaron: Where do you see your industry being in 3 years? 5? 10?
    Mark: We are on a journey with our clients to reduce the time to find insights and take action. We will move closer and closer to Autonomous solutions that empower marketers to be great story tellers and for consumers to have relevant and timely messages.
  5. Aaron: What book are you reading right now? How did you choose it?
    Mark: Think Like a Freak. Not a great story, my boss read it and recommended 😉

Thank you Mark. Love your answers. And trust me, you could do worse than taking advice from your boss and your spouse. But you knew that already.

This is a guest post by my Live from Stubbs co-host, Kyle Flaherty.

Let’s start with a bit of physics. In the theory of relativity there is something called “time dilation”, which is a difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers when they are moving relative to each other. This happened to me during our Live From Stubb’s taping with Amber Naslund of Sysomos.

The first time I ‘met’ Amber Naslund was August of 2008 when we struck up a Twitter conversation about Aaron Rodgers. We then met in person at SXSW 2009 and since then I’ve watched Amber from afar as she wrote and published a best-selling book, The NOW Revolution, and continued her successful career in marketing. When you read Amber, whether her book or blog, you get a no-filter, no-nonsense take on what is happening in the marketing world. I’ve always respected her thoughts, even when we disagreed, because I value honesty and authenticity above everything else.

Amber has marketing in her DNA. Watching her speak at the W2O Pre-Commerce Summit I was truly struck by her intelligence and storytelling abilities. And this is a critical component for all of us in marketing today as we are overcome by media channels, brands, and poor strategic choices. Thinking back, this is why I enjoyed talking with her in 2008, in between, and then reconnecting in 2015. Even before our Live From Stubb’s interview we were joking about how we have all been pushing the boundaries of marketing for decades now, yet some folks think many of us have ‘disappeared’ (watch the interview to see why).

Sitting with Amber in 2015 and talking about the current marketing landscape it felt both as if 2008 was yesterday and nearly a decade ago. Time moves, marketing evolves, but for me, I try to make genuine humans like Amber a constant.

You can see Sheldon Levine of Sysomos’s post about the interview here.

Do you believe in the power of social media data to drive real world business results? Jason Rose of DataSift, Shree Dandekar of Dell and Darin Wolter of Sysomos answered this question at the PreCommerce Summit with a resounding yes. In their round table discussion, the gentlemen spoke of the power of meaningful measurement, the impact of social media on business and predictions for the future of social media data.

Trends to watch:

  • Availability of rich data from communities that have historically been walled gardens (Jason Rose): With the release of Facebook Topic Data on March 10, 2015 (in partnership with DataSift), businesses can now access vast conversation data about industries, brands, products, events, etc., offering a net new source of insights regarding audiences of interest. DataSift’s process protects the anonymity of end users, while allowing business users access to this business-critical information.

Measurement best practices:

  • Net Promoter score based on social data (Shree Dandekar): In traditional net promoter methodology, data is collected periodically, so marketers must wait for results. By using social media data as the basis of scoring, net promoter information is available in real time, and agile businesses can use the information to make real time adjustments to marketing. For example, Dell has used net promoter information to adjust product pricing leading to increased sales.
  • “Social+” measurement (Darin Wolter): Social measurement has evolved from vanity metrics to health metrics to influence tracking. We now use social data to understand how people are connected and how they influence one another. In combination with business metrics like sales or stock price, social measurement becomes even richer.

Predictions:

  • Interpreting sarcasm (Shree Dandekar):  Historically, coding for sarcasm has been problematic. Soon, there will be technologies that can solve for this.
  • The year of PESO (Darin Wolter): This will be the year of PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned) consolidation. Companies are realizing they can use owned and shared data to inform earned and owned data, and soon this will become standard.
  • Connecting CRM and social data (Shree Dandekar):  Combining this data helps the sales team better understand how to engage with a customer and helps us build our sales pipeline.

Thanks to our panelists for sharing their points of view. May your data be rich and  your insights be mighty.

Jason Rose (SVP Marketing – Datasift)

Bio: Jason Rose has been the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Datasift Inc. since May 2014. Rose joined Datasift from SAP where he led marketing for the world’s leading business intelligence platform. He joined SAP through the acquisition of Business Objects where he led senior roles to consolidate three acquisitions to build the company’s market leading corporate performance management portfolio. He has a depth of marketing experience to reach buyers looking to expand into data integration for other data sources.

Jason Rose

 

 

 

 

Shree Dandekar (Chief Strategist BI & Analytics – Dell)

Bio: Shree Dandekar has been at Dell for the past 14 years in a number of roles covering software design, product development, enterprise marketing and technology strategy. Currently, he is Director, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Strategy responsible for developing and driving the strategy for Dell’s Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing solutions

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Darin Wolter (EVP of Global – Sysomos)

Bio: Daron Wolter is the Executive Vice President of Sales at Sysomos. In 2004, Darin joined Marketwired as Vice President of Sales for its Western U.S. region. A former sales executive with Thomson Financial, Darin held key national management positions of Thomson’s Outbound Sales Team. Prior to Thomson (now Thomson Reuters), Darin held direct sales management roles at successfully acquired start-ups, StreetFusion and Questlink Technology, in addition to holding key advertising sales positions at Miller Freeman.

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For more information on our SXW2O events and our speakers, please visit our website: http://w2oevents.com

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In case you weren’t able to livestream our 5th Annual PreCommerce Summit here in Austin, here is a quick summary of one of the sessions. First off was Chuck Hemann and his presentation on how to scale analytics within an organization, globally. Not an easy task for sure, especially within such a large brand like Intel. He offered some really helpful tips below and you can also read the transcripts from a previous interview we did with him.

  • Strong commitment from senior leadership
  • Willing and able partners in the GEOS
  • Metrics Standardization – framework that works everywhere
  • Common taxonomy for all media channels – content, paid social, search, ec.
  • Global capabilities stack
  • Stakeholder commitment to read, optimize on a similar cadence
  • Embracing the connected network versus hub and spoke

He concluded by highlighting how Intel is tackling this challenge:

  • The ability to work with even more speed
  • Bringing the data sources together to tell a comprehensive story
  • Protruding data in more challenging markets
  • Tools and Insights training
  • Developing analytics muscle memory and talent

Next up was Amber Naslund with an inspiring story about storytelling. She did this so effectively by sharing her professional journey from when she first started blogging, to joining Radian6, consulting for a few years and then to her current position with Sysomos.

My biggest takeaway from her session was when she talked about purpose; and how storytelling, whether personal or professional, should have purpose. Without it, storytelling will not inspire others and be doomed to fail. She said that one reason her consulting company failed was this lack of purpose.

The session concluded with Kip Knight who discussed brand storytelling. He started off his talk highlighting some pretty cool examples of campaigns where storytelling was the pinnacle – Allstate, Flo from Progressive Insurance, George Zimmer from the Men’s Warehouse, Most interesting man in the world – Dos Equis and the infamous Etrade Baby.

He then talked about H&R Block’s “Get Your Billions Back” campaign, which referenced the $300 billion dollars the IRS delivered in tax refunds in 2013. The campaign featured a bow-tie wearing spokesperson and H&R Block tax preparer, Richard Gartland and provided expert tax preparation advice to ensure clients receive the maximum refund possible from the IRS.

 

ABOUT THE PANELISTS

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 chuckChuck Hemann (Global Analytics Manager – Intel) – Scaling Digital Analytics Around the Globe Bio: Chuck Hemann is the Analytics Manager for Intel. Over the last 10 years, Chuck has provided strategic counsel to clients on a variety of topics including, digital analytics, measurement, online reputation, social media, investor relations and crisis communications. Prior to joining Intel, he was the Executive Director of Analytics at Golin where he was responsible for leading digital analytics across the agency. Before Golin, he was the Group Director of Analytics for W2O Group where he was responsible for leading teams in New York and London.

Amber NaslundAmber Naslund (SVP, Marketing – Sysomos) – Storytelling: Individual vs. Corporate Bio: Amber Naslund if the SVP of Marketing for Sysomos, a social intelligence platform. Amber’s 15+ years of professional expertise spans nonprofit management, corporate communications, marketing, professional services and social business strategy. She is the former president of SideraWorks and VP of Social Strategy for Salesforce Radian6, where she advised Fortune 500 companies, such as L’Oreal, Dell and American Express. Amber is also the co-author of the best-selling social business book, “The Now Revolution.”

 

Kip KnightKip Knight (President, US Retail Operations – H&R Block) – Who Speaks For Your Brand? BIO: Kip joined H&R Block in 2012 and currently serves as the President of U.S. Retail Operations. Knight’s 30-year career has included senior management and marketing positions with P&G, PepsiCo and eBay. Knight started in marketing research at Burke Marketing Research and has since worked in over 65 countries. He is the founder of the U.S. Marketing Communication College at the U.S. State Department that trains diplomats on marketing strategy and implementation. Knight is currently on the Board of Directors at Quiznos.

For more information on our SXW2O events and speakers, please visit our website: http://w2oevents.com

There are three certainties in life… death, taxes and the fact that our company, W2O Group, will once again be hosting some awesome events during SXSW Interactive. Unless you live under a rock, you know this is one of the largest interactive conferences on this planet. Over 100,000 of the top digital, social and mobile minds from around the world haling from companies large and small, agencies, startups, etc. come to Austin, TX to network, attend panels and catch up on the latest trends. Many of these attendees are influential bloggers, senior marketing and communications professionals and journalists who report back on who is doing what in the interactive space.

Because a significant number of our clients at W2O Group (WCG, Twist and BrewLife) are now involved with SXSW Interactive, over the last six years we have developed a series of events during SXSW that complement all of the activities that go on during that time. Our signature event, the PreCommerce Summit, takes place on March 12 (Thursday) from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is packed with speakers from well-known brands like H&R Block, Google, Twitter, Verizon, Intel and Bayer. We will also have thought leaders from companies like Techonomy, NBC and Bloomberg providing industry insights. Did we mention that we are honored to have none other than Al Roker, co-anchor of the Today Show, and a special fireside chat between Tech moguls, David Kirkpatrick (author of The Facebook Effect) and Vyomesh “VJ” Joshi (former EVP of printing at Hewlett Packard)?

We are interviewing a number of these speakers on our blog here.

ALRoker

Jon Harris (former head of comms at Hillshire Brands and media personality), will be interviewing Al at our event. You can hear more in our Live from Stubbs interview with Jon here on what he and Al will cover.

This event will be attended by about 400 plus customers and other industry thought leaders. A cocktail reception will follow. The event is complementary, but invite only. If you are interested in attending, please email us at info@w2ogroup.com. In that email, be sure to provide name, title and company. We will also be live streaming the event via UStream if you can’t physically be there. Registration is open to the public (RSVP here).

We will also host a digital brunch at our (not so) new office located in East Austin. If you like food trucks (hint: Gordoughs will be one), music, cocktails and lost of interesting people, you will enjoy this.

Every SXSW, we do our best to cover “what’s next” in digital. This year, we’re planning to host our first GeekFest on Saturday at The Austonian between 10am – 2pm. We have 12 speakers including Becky Brown, VP of media at Intel and TK Keanini, CTO of Lancope to give 15 minute talks with some time for Q&A every 3-4 talks. We will have no more than 70 people in attendance. This event is being sponsored by Synthesio.

In addition to our PreCommerce Summit (selected talks from last year’s event), Digital Brunch and Geekfest, we will also host our sixth annual Geek-a-Cue Saturday night at the historic Charles Johnson House (on the Colorado River). This is the house MTV uses to host its SXSW Music parties so you know it’s good. We were sad to not host our Geek-a-cue for a fourth time at world famous Franklin’s BBQ, but with their new expansion we simply ran out of room. Not to worry, however, because we are pleased to bring you one of Austin’s newest gems, Terry Blacks. While we won’t pretend anyone can cook brisket like Aaron Franklin… the Black brothers (their grandfather is Terry Black who opened Blacks in Lockhart 83 years ago) come pretty damn close.

Oh, did we mention that we have two AMAZING bands this year as well? For openers, we’ll have Austin favorite, Monte Montgomery. And then for our main act, we are featuring Black Joe Lewis (yes, that Black Joe Lewis that has appeared on Letterman and countless music festivals).

Check out my 2014 wrap up post to get a better flavor of the awesomeness you will experience this year.

Here are eventbrite links/descriptions of the events:

  • Friday, March 13th: Digital Brunch (400+ director to CMO level brand marketers/digital/social folks expected)
    • RSVP Here (no password required)
    • 3000 East Cesar Chavez, Austin
    • 10:00 AM – 2 PM
    • Food trucks, music, innovative demos, coffee, brunch, and mimosa/Bloody Marys to fuel your first festival day
    • Shuttles available from the Stephen F. Austin Hotel starting at 9:45am
  • 6th Annual Geek-a-cue: Saturday, March 14th:  (800 director to CMO level brand marketers/digital/social folks expected)
    • RSVP Here (password required – email info@w2ogroup.com to request invite)
    • Charles Johnson House – 404 Atlanta Street, Austin, TX
    • 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    • Roundtrip shuttle available from the Stephan F. Austin Hotel starting at 4:45 PM
    • To RSVP contact info@w2ogroup.com (space is limited)

As you can imagine, space is limited at these events so please make sure to RSVP soon. And if you do RSVP and decide after that you can’t make it, please be courteous and let us/me know that your slot is available.

We are over-the-moon excited to have Sysomos, DataSift, ClarabridgeSprinklr, Businesswire and Bayer as our sponsors this year. We greatly appreciate their support.

Although it is rare, every now and then, I get to just sit back and listen to leaders talk about innovation and entrepreneurship.

In the last two weeks, I had an opportunity to keynote at a Nestle/Purina meeting in St. Louis and a Sysomos meeting in Toronto.  Here is what I learned.

#1 – Local Innovation is Important to Monitor & SharePete Blackshaw, global digital chief of Nestle, showed example after example of social media/digital/paid media innovation from India, Pakistan, Turkey and many other countries.  It made me reflect on the past and remember how many times leaders have shared examples from the largest countries, rather than the most innovative.  Pete is a born innovator who identifies what’s next and then shares it better than anyone I’ve seen to help his team build a unique advantage.  Internal center of excellence focus matters and Pete and his team are a great example.  Plus, there is A LOT of innovation occurring in the media world in Asia and in emerging countries overall.  We need to keep an eye on this to learn ourselves, particularly in the US where we navel gaze too much. 

#2 – Being an Entrepreneur Takes Guts Jim McKelvey, creator and founder of Square along with Jack Dorsey, provided this analogy.  He showed a picture of a car on a road where it was snowing.  You can’t see ahead at all.  He said “this is what it is like being an entrepreneur when you are really innovating.  You can’t see clearly ahead.  You can’t stop your car because the plow will hit you from behind.  You aren’t sure if you are going straight, but every mile you see a marker and you are ok for a second.  You keep going straight…..or think you are….your gut is you are right…..and then finally, after you have run scared for what seems like a long time, you see the landscape.”  He said that he has been scared to do every great thing he’s done.  But he did it anyway and ended up creating some pretty cool companies.  He’s right.  Innovation can be a lonely, frustrating place.  If you can stay focused long enough, the windshield will clear and the trip will be worth it.

#3 – We Can Innovate Far Faster Than We RealizeBen Kaufman, founder of Mophie, dropped out of school and still did ok.  He now leads Quirky.  They crowd-source ideas for new products and produce three new products each week!  They built a new air conditioner for GE in 140+ days.  A new smart lightbulb in less time.  His message is that if you really crowd-source views and care about innovation, you can greatly accelerate what you create.  He was pretty clear that companies move way too slow, point to bureaucracy, wait for others to make decisions and they are actually the real problem.  Ben said “you need to overpromise and over deliver to unlock innovation.  You need to set very ambitious deadlines to get things moving.”  We experienced the power of crowd-sourcing with IdeaStorm when I was at Dell.  Why don’t we see more of this?

#4 – Patterns Matter in Analytics – Cynthia Storer, one of the original six members of the CIA’s analysis team (all women) tracking Bin Laden from 1988 through recent times, outlined the importance of looking for clues, finding patterns and then determining what to analyze.  If you closed your eyes, you would think she was working with us.  Great analytics has the same intensity.  We always assume there is another clue to find, another pattern we missed.  We can learn a lot from listening to how Cindy’s team operated. 

#5 – Digital Media is now the Mainstream Media for Major CompaniesRob Norman, Chairman/CEO of Group M and board member of WPP spoke.  Rob clearly stated that strategy starts with digital and that is where the focus is for WPP.  Rob said “every plan at WPP now has a significant digital component”.  He also said that “ecommerce is changing.  Point of sale is determined by consumer choice, not brand”.   We are now in a world where it is normal for 40-60% of marketing spend to be digital worldwide. 

#6 – Facebook is a S²aaS firm – Facebook understands that software is optimally used when you combine education, training, ideas and the software.  I see their teams at every big company these days.  They are highly dedicated to their client’s business and they make a difference.  It makes me wonder why every SaaS firm doesn’t get this.   Software does not sell itself in a marketing environment.  Kudos to John Patten and friends at Facebook.   

#7 – The Future looks like Buzz Feed – publishers will move closer to the Buzz Feed model where the publisher works with you on how to leverage your ads.  They help create content with the advertiser.  It is past due for the advertisers of the world to ensure they also become relevant members of the conversation.  We have a lot of evolution ahead in the ad space. 

#8 – The New Celebrity Looks like Us – people are not connecting as much with celebrities these days.  Instead, they are connecting more often with the emerging stars on YouTube and other channels who are more like them.   We now have more potential spokespeople…..

#9 – It’s Hard to See Change & Embrace ItGuy Kawasaki pointed out how companies too often hang on to the models of the past and make excuses as to why they can’t change.  This works until they become obsolete, over and over again.  Couldn’t help but think he was referencing the advertising world as he said this.  He said “the key is what is the core question we are solving for and why?  What is the next curve?”

#10 – Great Innovations Polarize People – Guy said that when real innovation is occurring, it can divide before it unites, since so many people hate change.  This from a guy who used to work for Steve Jobs. 

#11 – Don’t be a Bozo – Guy told the story of how he turned down the CEO job of Yahoo! in the early days.  He didn’t make the time to figure out the opportunity.  And it passed him by. He figures he lost about $2 billion.  His point is that great ideas and great opportunities are often right in front of us…….but can we see them or do we refuse to see them?

#12 – Make Decisions with SpeedLindsay Sparks, new CEO of Sysomos, talks about how the need to make quicker decisions outweighs having perfect information or waiting for a scheduled call/meeting.  Our world is moving too fast and demands better/faster decision-making.  As Lindsay said “if someone can’t make a decision, I’ll make it for them”.  I love that.  What it really means is that we all need to work at how to become more empowered and make our own decisions earlier. If we’re waiting for leaders to break the tie, we are part of the problem. 

All of these insights can apply, in some way, to our daily lives.  My advice is to think about it…..and think of how we can each improve the company or organization we work at today.

All the best, Bob

Do you remember way back to 2006-2007? What specifically do you remember about those two years? Where were you working and what were you working on? I remember working for a more traditional (I don’t even know what that means anymore) communications agency doing research for our media relations, crisis communications and investor relations teams. The primary focus then was on evaluating the performance of media campaigns and events using metrics like impressions, message resonance and number of mentions in key mainstream media outlets. There was some element of the role that required real-time analysis, but generally speaking we were evaluating those campaigns and events after the fact. It wasn’t bad. It is just what was common practice.

A funny thing happened as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube began to explode: The number of companies that were created to help brands and agencies understand what was happening on those networks also exploded. Companies like Radian6 and Sysomos were the industry leaders, and early pioneers of a new approach to gathering and analyzing stakeholder behavior online. They offered users the ability to track share of voice, keyword trends, volume trends, sentiment and influencers. If you were working in the digital marketing industry then and saw those tools you would have never guessed they would have grown to this point, or achieved the kinds of valuations that they now command. To be fair, both companies helped show us that there was more to learn about our stakeholders behaviors than we analytics pros were getting through the traditional tool set.

Fast forward six or seven years and the tool set has evolved tremendously. There are literally hundreds (probably thousands) of tools out there that companies and agencies can use to gather online data about its key stakeholders. We have evolved beyond relying on a social media listening tool to answer every question, albeit not far enough. There have been great advances in search, content and audience analytics over that time. There have also been great strides toward the integration of traditional market research and digital/social research. As quickly as a new social channel pops up, so too does a new tool that gives analysts the ability to harvest and analyze that data.

Because the industry is moving so quickly, I don’t think we take enough time to document where we want it to go and what we need from the tools. So, beginning today, I am going to document in two parts where I think the industry needs to move and what we need from the tools. Part one, or what you are about to read, offers a point of view from the analyst perspective. Part two, what you will read later this week (I hope), will offer a point of view from the marketers/communicators perspective. Here is where I think we need to go from the analysts perspective:

  • Cleaner data – Anybody who uses a social media monitoring tool can tell you that a lot of the output from these tools is spam. Now, part of that is a function of how much spam there is on the Internet but going through a dataset that is 75%+ spam (and we have seen higher) is a time consuming task. It distracts from the real job of an analyst, which is to interpret the data. It also makes it very difficult to analyze behavioral trends over time because the analyst is constantly wondering if the dataset is clean or it has been biased by the introduction of more spam. What analysts really need is a tool with a smart spam filter system that learns over time as data is collected.
  • Integrating data sources – Social media listening can tell us a lot about how consumers are behaving, but it does not tell us everything. What were to happen if key stakeholders were talking in limited volume? Would you be able to develop insights based on a few hundred conversations in a 12 month period? That is a very likely scenario if you represent a niche B2B brand today. We analysts need to be better at pulling data from all aspects of the data supply chain (content, audience, social media monitoring, search and influencers) to understand the complete picture of how our stakeholders behave online.
  • Truly understanding PESO behaviors – At W2O Group we refer to the integrated media landscape as PESO — paid, earned, shared and owned. What the tool set allows us to do today is understand shared and owned media activities very well. Unfortunately, the integration with paid and earned media analytics platforms is lacking. Point #2 and #3 here are related, and it is something we need the tools to deliver desperately. In the meantime, though, approaching research projects with the mindset of understanding behaviors across PESO is a helpful place to start.
  • Assist colleagues in seeing the value of digital/social data beyond the communications context – Ken Burbary and I originally met in 2008 after we started a Twitter exchange about the value of digital and social data to the entire enterprise. Five years later we wrote a book together, and five years later we are still talking about the need to expand. It is one thing for the analysts among us to deliver insights on key communications questions, but is is another thing entirely to deliver insights that may help product development, customer service, HR or sales. Even if we aren’t asked for it, that is what we need to deliver more consistently.
  • Understanding audience segments at a deeper level – One of the questions analysts are often tasked in answering is understanding how a company’s social community is behaving. When we are asked that question we often approach it from the standpoint of understanding that behavior on the company’s shared and owned properties. That is only one part of the equation. The other part is understanding what ELSE those people care about. You, the analyst, already know that they have liked your page. Do you know what else they care about? At W2O Group we call this forensic analytics, and I think we analysts need to take the next step in understanding consumer behavior at a deeper level.
  • Training the next generation of analysts – Many of the people who work in digital and social analytics today came from the traditional research realm because they saw an opportunity to advance their career in a new, and interesting area. Because analytics has become so hot there are a number of people now entering the industry who don’t have as much context as they will need as their career unfolds. It is on us analysts who have been in the space for several years to develop a rigorous set of standards that can be followed by the next generation.

What else? What else do we analysts need to do to ensure the industry is evolving and keeping up with communicators’ needs? Again, later this week I will offer up a perspective on where the analytics industry needs to go from the marketer/communicator perspective, but in the meantime I look forward to hearing from you.

With the 2013 version of SxSW Interactive in the books, it’s time for a look back on highlights, key trends (or lack of) and links to some of the awesome content we collected during the several events that we hosted during the event.

For starters, there really weren’t any big technologies that shined through at this SXSW like we’ve had at past events. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but likely more of an indication that it’s becoming harder and harder to break through all the noise at SXSW Interactive. There was a larger corporate presence than ever this year and that will likely be a continuing theme over the next few years as companies continue to embrace, grow and operationalize social, digital and mobile into their corporate DNA.

Social Commerce Summit

For W2O Group in particular, we had a very successful set of of events that kicked off with our Social Commerce Summit on Thursday, March 7. During this six hour event, we had 19 speakers each give 10 minute TED-like talks. The talks covered a range of topics including love, marriage and creating brand passion. We know it’s a lot of content but we hope you’ll take the time to watch the video (or at least read the highlights in the blog posts) from the speakers below.

We also had a few nice write ups from the event by former PR Week/current Holmes Report writer, Aarti Shah (here) and friend of W2O, Lisa Grimm (here).

In particular, we would like to thank our sponsors, Sysomos and BazaarVoice, for making all of our events during SXSW possible. They were (and are) great partners.

 

W2O Group Open House/Live from Stubbs Video Podcasts

While there weren’t any breakthrough companies this year at SXSW, we did have a number of themes crop up during our Social Commerce Summit and then again during our Live from Stubbs podcast tapings during our open house on Friday, March 8. In particular we heard a lot about big data, mobile, analytics and the operationalization of digital across the organization from many of our speakers/guests. There was also a significant amount of interest in our partner, SnapTrends, technology that provides for location-based analytics, a topic that W2O is quite bullish on.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be embedding the Live from Stubbs videos in blog posts on our Common Sense blog. In the meantime, you can check out all of the videos on our Youtube channel here. You can also read my Live from Stubbs co-host, Kyle Flaherty’s summary of our interview with Youtube’s Jeben Berg, here. When Kyle is not podcasting he is the VP of marketing at local analytics firm, 21CT who was kind enough to sponsor our Live from Stubbs videos. I would also like to thank local video production and strategy company, UPG for all of their brilliant work with both the Live from Stubbs videos as well as recording/editing all of our Social Commerce videos.

Geek-a-cue

Of course SXSW wouldn’t be what it is without a party. And party we did at our 4th annual Geek-a-cue on Saturday night at Franklin BBQ (ranked best BBQ in the U.S. by Bon Appetit Magazine). Fortunately the rain held off this year allowing us to eat fantastic BBQ, enjoy the brilliant music of local favorite, Monte Montgomery, share a few beverages, take funny photos in our photo booth and play a little Corn Hole out behind the tent.

This short video shot and produced by UPG does a wonderful job of summing up this fabulous event.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_TYROYXApk[/youtube]

We also need to thank Natalee Norwood and Spoiled Doves for producing our Geek-a-cue. Without all her creativity, foresight and elbow grease, this event wouldn’t be what it was. Thank you to Aaron and Stacy Franklin and the Franklin staff for use of their venue and all the mouth watering BBQ they served up with smiles on their faces.

Digital Brunch

Capping off the week, we hosted a digital brunch at our East Austin offices. In spite of threats of rain, the springing ahead of the clocks and a lot of hung over SXSW attendees, we still enjoyed over 125 visitors to our new offices. The petting zoo, chair massages, drinks (alcoholic and caffeinated) and gourmet brunch courtesy of local restaurant/catering company, Dai Due, probably didn’t hurt.

Biggest thanks of all go to the dream team at W2O Group of Erin Disney, Stephanie Layton, Blaire Borochoff and Katrina Hallowell for their months of hard work putting these events together. Huge props also go to our CEO, Jim Weiss and President, Bob Pearson for making these events possible. Last but not least, a shout out to all of our W2O Group employees who volunteered/attended as well as our clients for being an integral part of our SXSW experience. Thank you!

Last but not least, we also had a little fun with our #sxswpickuplines this year. Details are here. Video that put the cherry on the cake is below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR6kVwM2Gp8[/youtube]