Few can claim as much Pre-Commerce success as Jeffrey Hayzlett. As chief marketing officer at Kodak, Hayzlett reinvigorated the iconic brand with a blend of energy, smarts and social media savvy. He also poured the same attributes into a best selling business book, The Mirror Test, and a second book, Running the Gauntlet, now available for pre-sale.   Since leaving Kodak in May 2010 he has become one of the leading voices on marketing and social media in today’s business environment.

I asked Hayzlett about his early encounters with social media, how he keeps on top of new ideas and trends, and the mistakes many companies make when first engaging with the Pre-Commerce world.

Q: When did you personally realize that social media was becoming a new discipline of importance to companies?  In other words, when was your first Pre-Commerce moment?

I started 25 or 30 years ago. The basics of social media have been around forever in the form of networking and utilizing various social groups. That’s existed since the dawn of man. Years ago, you would’ve known it as Kiwanis or Rotary, but now it’s online, viral and easier to participate. Any marketer or any business leader who values customers and their input will use it to their advantage.

Q: How do you personally learn?  What can you share with us?
I love to read! I always have several books waiting in the wings to read and learn about new concepts in leadership, marketing or business. I also learn a lot from interacting with people through social media, if it’s with my Facebook page or Twitter.

Q: What trends are changing how we conduct e-commerce in ways we may not have imagined a few years ago?

A few years ago we assumed to access products or companies, we needed to be somewhat stationary, sitting in front of a computer. Today, and the way I see it changing, is mobile technology, especially the smart phone, will allow consumers to engage in the purchasing process while on the move.

Q: When you think of leaders in social media, what distinguishes them in how they can get started faster?  What goes wrong when companies stumble and go slow?�

It’s the companies that are not afraid of stumbling and those that adopt, adapt and grow with energy and enthusiasm (especially with emerging technology) that become the leaders. The slow ones wait for everything to fall into place and work perfectly. With so many changes in social media, nothing will stay constant. In the end, the companies that wait for everything to be worked out will only be able to watch as their competition passes them by.

Thanks Jeffrey.  Great insights.  We’ll be back with Part 2 this Thursday

All the best, Bob