Category Archives: Interactive Marketing

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies

Asking a marketer to describe their brand’s content strategy is like asking my wife what she wants for dinner. You’ll hear 50 different answers that really only distill down to a handful of choices:

  • FORMAT – “We use video, images and real-time engagement…”
  • MEDIA – “We create paid, owned and earned experiences…”
  • CHANNEL – “We use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn…”
  • SOURCE – “We have curated, syndicated, and costume content…”
  • INTENT – “We drive traffic to our blog for lead gen and SEO…”

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian ParkerThe only answer you won’t hear is “I don’t know.”

While these inputs represent vital building blocks for connecting ideas, communities and people, successful content marketing strategies start with 2 core questions:

1. Who are we talking to… and why should they care?

2. What are we saying… and why should they share?

Content is the oxygen of your social media ecosystem. Strategy is the process of converting it into results by regulating what you do, why you do it and how. A content marketing strategy dependent on a specific channel, format or source will soon be on life-support as technology changes and interest wanes.

There is a better way. At Intuit we’ve had the opportunity to test, learn and iterate on several campaigns targeting global business professionals and small business owners. The content marketing strategy we’ve adopted focuses on maximizing the 2 core questions and scaffolding our content plans around consumer-driven motivations.

The best and worst of content marketing strategies come to life in 4 types:

4 Types of Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian Parker

WORST: Vanity Content

With lagging consumer relevancy and even lower trust, many traditional, outbound marketing tactics fall into the vanity category. Companies struggle to hit tomorrow’s revenue forecast and reach today’s audience with yesterday’s playbook.  Until recently the marketing solar system revolved around products and brands, not consumers. Mass scale was rewarded, encouraged and expected. Vanity content strategies are like a bad blind date that expects you to pay for dinner after blabbering about themselves through three painful courses. To be fair, vanity content pieces do have a place and a purpose but a strategy built on this approach is destined to fail. Just say no.

GOOD: Conversational Content

Conversational content powers Twitter timelines, serving as a virtual village where ideas go to spread or die. The steady stream of share-bait presents easy access to news, information, updates and random distractions. Done right, this approach requires dedicated resources who are equipped with the right tools and empowered by leaders. Like a great dinner party, the key to great conversational content is to start the discussion, not own it. Conversations can quickly become viral or convictional based on how audiences respond so leave room for the unplanned.

BETTER: Convictional Content

Content that evokes emotions, strengthens beliefs or confronts assumptions is challenging to produce yet powerful to consume. We often speak of “humanizing” or “personifying” our brand, alluding to the notion that people connect more easily with other people. This approach works extremely well when focused on the people behind your products and a story bigger than your brand. What this content approach lacks in scale it makes up for in transparency and trust. Great content elicits an action, which is the ultimate goal of most brand marketing and media. Instead of asking for the action, convictional content asks for a discussion.

BEST: Viral Content

The word “viral” has been abused more than Charlie’s bitten finger. By definition, the term denotes that new consumption comes from the activities of current consumers. Or said another way, users begat other users. Even within Intuit virality has various degrees. Sales enabling content for QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition (B2B) performs very differently from a TurboTax video campaign (B2C). While every piece of viral content isn’t necessarily marketing, all viral marketing delivers on the core 2 motivators: giving consumers a reason to share and care.

It begs an obvious question: In a world transformed by digital technology, why is viral content so prevalent online yet elusive for marketers? Easy answer: We’re busy creating innovative ways to talk about what we know best – ourselves.

Let’s Talk

In business, strategies answer obvious questions and question obvious answers. Any content plan will evolve over time but should always serve as a true north representation of what and who your brand stands for. Last week at Social Fresh West in San Diego I had the opportunity to discuss how to drive digital results by focusing on relationships. This “Care & Share Model” illustrates how it came together using a recent case study from Intuit. You can check out the full presentation on Slideshare or below.

I look forward to hearing how brands and small businesses alike tackle these challenges. If your content strategy had a Facebook page, would any of your customers like it? Leave a comment below with how you would rank your own content marketing strategy. Feel free to link to examples!

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

5 Signs Your Brand is Abusing Social Media

Everything and everyone has a purpose, an intended reason for being created. Birds were born to fly. Fish were formed to swim. Social media was made to________.

The word you used to fill in that blank reveals all you need to know about how successful social strategies will be at driving growth in your organization. Abuse – defined as “abnormal use” – simply means the utilization of something for a purpose it was not manufactured for. Pencils as cue tips, credit cards as therapists, food as a best friend and people as punching bags are all obvious examples of something abnormally used.

If you or your team have misaligned expectations about the role of social interactions there isn’t much chance fitting the proverbial square peg into the round hole. Over the last 3 years I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and coach business leaders across the globe and I’ve learned to spot the social media abusers fairly quickly. There are usually 5 ways businesses abuse social media so watch out for these warnings signs in your organization:

5 Signs Social Media Abuse - Adrian Parker Intuit

1) You get an email every month asking how much revenue was driven from Facebook. Social connections and peer recommendations hugely impact purchase decisions but using your channels as a direct response vehicle is the #1 sign you’re an abuser. This offense is worsened if you actually reply to said email with a dollar figure and no other context about your customers. Measuring the value of social activity purely in dollar signs is like measuring the ROI of your mom by her life insurance amount. It doesn’t make sense and actually impairs the ROI of your efforts by missing the bigger picture (lifetime value, media efficiency, loyalty, recommendations and trust). Click here for more on social attribution models and ROI.

2) Your customer care team isn’t actively monitoring social channels. When you said “yes” to using Twitter to connect with customers you also said “yes” to providing timely answers and follow-up to relevant inquiries. It’s a marriage. For richer or for poorer you have a responsibility to be present in the conversation even when it’s not convenient. Companies that sell or serve online have an obligation to treat online conversations in the same manner they would address a face-to-face interaction. Would you like to know how responsive you are as a brand? Try the Twitter Customer Analysis report from Simply Measured (it’s free).

3) You talk about yourself all day. Every day. Can you (Adrian is hot) imagine how (Adrian can’t cook) annoying (Adrian is from Texas) it is to attempt to (Adrian misses his hair) converse with (Adrian wants you to read this) someone who is constantly (Adrian has a budget meeting today) talking about themselves. Just stop it. Inside our companies we all spend an obsessive amount of time talking to, at and about our products as if the earth is still flat and the sun revolves around them. Outside your conference room is where the real world starts. It’s round, customers are real people and relationships matter. Here’s my 37-slide point-of-view on how to create content that drives connections.

4) The leaders who decide social budgets, staffing and resources aren’t active online. Your CMO doesn’t need to have a verified Twitter account or a custom WordPress blog but the key trigger-pullers in your organization do need to be present and participatory online. It truly is the only way to form an accurate end-to-end picture of how to best utilize social as a business mechanism. Imagine Jennifer Quotson, Visual Merchandising Director for Starbucks, procuring vendors to redesign their stores without ever stepping inside one. Better yet, picture Ross Meyercord, CIO of Salesforce.com, deciding next year’s staffing and expense plan without an understanding of customer trends or cloud adoption rates. It’s laughable but it happens more frequently than you think. As a leader, when you reduce your brand’s online experience to a row in an Excel spreadsheet you’re ill-equipped to make intelligent decisions about how best to drive growth. Shifting a company culture to a social first mindset isn’t easy but here are some tools to start the journey.

5) One team “owns” social media or mobile. Social media is ultimately about connections, not control. If one group holds the keys to the kingdom (either by design or default) you’re driving a Porsche 911 stuck in neutral. The true power of these peer connections is realized when a company’s culture embraces engagement as an opportunity to learn, hear and connect more with the people who keep you in business. It’s not a PR function or a marketing campaign, though those are key elements. With 1 billion people on Facebook and half the United States using a smartphone, digital and mobile strategy is everyone’s job. Realign your team and recalibrate your mindset or you may very well be the bottleneck to progress. Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons your social strategy is incomplete without mobile.

Abuse – abnormal use – can be expected with nascent, emerging technologies that require us all to flex muscles in new ways. With constant change comes constant learning. The opportunity lies in dispelling misinformation regarding interactive marketing and enabling both teams and leaders to learn new ways to drive growth from the inside out. Stop the abuse and take the time to do it right.

I’d love to hear from social media leaders and marketers alike. What are some ways you see social engagement mis-used in organizations and what are the barriers to increasing our social IQ? Leave a comment below.

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Leadership, Social Media

Put A Ring On It: Moving Beyond Social Engagement

Social media has significantly changed business but business is also changing the way we do social media.  How do you measure, monetize and optimize social interactions in a business environment?  Look no further than your marriage.  Everything I’ve learned about social media I got from my wife.  Kinda.

This is a quick share of the presentation slides and a video from the WCG Social Commerce event at SXSW 2013.  I was honored to speak to and learn from some of the most brilliant brands and digital minds around.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

ROI can come from the most important places.  Many thanks to my wife Alisha for being a good sport and awesome partner.

Video created by UPG

Slideshare presentation: Put A Ring On It: Moving Beyond Social Engagement

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, intuit, Learnings & Insight

15 Signs of a Great Community Manager

From Fortune 500 corporations to mom & pop shops, community management is arguably the most pivotal function of any social media team. A brand is the sum of its parts and oftentimes the person behind the social channel becomes the eyes, ears, voice and face of your brand’s online footprint. Choose carefully.

I’ve been lucky to meet, work with, teach and even learn from some of the best Community Managers in the industry. Whether you’re looking for new talent or assessing the performance of your current roster, these are 15 signs of a great Community Manager:

      1. They have immediate access to the pulse of what’s going on in your industry and among your customers. A great Community Manager doesn’t wait for the weekly company buzz report, they write it.
      2. They have empathetic eyes, possessing an ability to view online content and campaigns from the consumer’s perspective. They know their audience and continually seek ways to improve the customer experience from the inside out.
      3. They don’t just seek ways to improve (see #2), they actually act on solutions. Great Community Managers have a bias for action.
      4. They are multilingual when it comes to media. They produce videos, pictures and promotions with the same ease as writing posts and articles.
      5. They have a passion for engagement and conversing with customers that is infectious. They overwhelm you with creative ideas and are a constant source of good thinking.
      6. They are “professionally offended” if their content fails to get engagement and immediately seek constructive ways to do better next time. Great Community Managers never stop optimizing.
      7. They spend more time conversing with customers than sitting in a room talking about them. They monitor your social channel metrics daily and don’t depend solely on Radian6 to be your online ears.
      8. They regularly scrutinize your brand, your peers, competition and influencers to garner ideas of what can be done better or differently.
      9. They love to test, learn and derive insights from new technology. Change doesn’t paralyze, it invigorates.
      10. They are mobile-savvy and equally comfortable engaging on a phone or tablet as a desktop. They have created the proper barriers between the work account and their personal accounts to prevent social snafus.
      11. They engage on evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure your brand has a human voice that participates in relevant cultural and industry happenings. They do this without being asked.
      12. They know your company’s vision and can clearly articulate your strategy and how social impacts all of the above.
      13. They have an urgent desire to amplify your online presence tempered with an understanding that it takes time to grow. Great Community Managers are patiently impatient.
      14. They spend time each day reading about trends, happenings and people in order to develop a perspective for your brand.
      15. They have an expert understanding of each social channel’s publishing, reporting and administrative tools. Don’t assume this is common knowledge.

Perhaps the best sign of a great Community Manager is fairly simple: they read lists like this and immediately identify key areas where they can do better to help your brand. I’m grateful for the great folks I know.

Are you a Community Manager? Let me know what you think of the list and what indicators you think are valuable when looking for competent talent in this emerging space.

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

The State of Location Based Marketing

Yesterday’s Explore conference was a great opportunity to ignite my appreciation for smart people doing cool things in digital.  Jason Falls‘ signature event was well attended, well catered and included several social power-houses from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I’m not only a social practitioner, I’m also a fan of good thinking.

Aaron pontificates. Adrian preaches.

Aaron Strout, who literally wrote the book on location based marketing, invited me to speak during his session, The State of Location Based Marketing.

Though I was 1 week into a new job and knee-deep in to-dos, I’m glad I didn’t decline.  We chatted it up about several developments, perspectives and predictions in location technology.

Aaron was kind enough to post a list of resources on WCG’s blog so I highly encourage a click over to that.  Below are some of the high points of our conversation:

Starting a Location Program

When we started the inaugural location marketing program at RadioShack, there wasn’t a big appetite for embracing this unproven tactic.  This created the perfect petri dish for a digital experiment because no one cared if we succeeded or failed, as long as we didn’t lose money.  This low bar made the phenomenal results even more noteworthy.  Through iterative campaigns with foursquare, MyTown, Google Places and Gowalla, we were able to prototype a social/mobile/local campaign (SoMoLo) that yielded positive business results.

The key to starting was just that, starting.  Perhaps the biggest hurdle was ensuring store compliance with the check-in offers and proper tracking of the transactions.  These were executional items solved by education.  Simply starting a test is the best way to exercise a company’s SoMoLo muscles and assessing whether or not you’re ready for the big time.

Pitfalls to Watch

When Aaron asked about potential pitfalls agencies and brands should watch out for when developing a location marketing plan, I immediately thought of two that plague many a social souls:

  1. Crossing SignalsRelatively few mobile users are broadcasting their activities via location based applications.  The overwhelming majority actually access geo-location services on their cell phones to receive information like directions, price comparisons, reviews and other data that enhances a physical activity.  Contrary to popular opinion, not every one is a social butterfly.  Brands must become butlers and serve consumers information on their terms.  The way to add the most value is not by merely broadcasting marketing messages, but by creating content consumers can receive when they’re ready.  Check your signal.
  2. Shortsighted Thinking – Can you imagine if people were texting and Tweeting during the O.J. Simpson trial?  Me either.  Because in 1995 the average cell phone sent a measly .4 text messages per day and Twitter was an unborn idea inside the skull of a NYU college student.  Fast-forward to the present and the average texter sends or receives 41.5 messages per day!  Why should brands care?  Why will I care?  Because as smartphone adoption increases, location based tools will become the norm.  Don’t make the mistake of taking a short-term view of today’s emerging technology.  Instead, test the applications that are right for your business and make your mistakes now.  Think long term.

SoMoLo at Intuit

More than 40% of the nation’s tax filings this year will flow through Intuit software.  The very DNA of our brand is about delighting customers with service, ease and convenience.  As a software company this means we lack one critical component of a location based marketing plan – locations.

Or do we?

Enabling consumers with software and services doesn’t require a physical location, it simply requires a connection.  In my new role, I’m looking forward to cracking the code on how we leverage SoMoLo to enable our clients.  Targeting small business owners, accountants and consumers via a location offer on foursquare or Google Places is highly efficient.  Or how about empowering individuals to find financial help and resources via social and local recommendations?  Better yet, why not offer 1-click access on smartphones for downloading tax incentives and guides that are customized to your specific area?  I have work to do, can’t wait.

Tweet of Wisdom

In closing, Aaron asked me to offer a final, Twitter-sized pearl of wisdom in 140 characters or less.  Let me know what you think:

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Location Based Marketing, Mobile

10 Things I’ll Miss About RadioShack

Stephen had a horrible poker face.  I couldn’t read his mind but as I examined his eyes I was sure of one thing: he was dreaming up something that would make me uncomfortable.

It was October 9, 2009 and I was sitting across from RadioShack’s VP of Marketing at the time.  We swapped philosophies on retail management, leadership styles, life passions and perspectives on why Redbox was destined to kick Blockbuster’s butt from the beginning.

Then the discussion took an interesting twist.  “What do you think about social media?  Would you be interested in figuring it out for us?”

Funny thing is, I don’t recall what I actually said but I do remember what I thought.  Instantly, I remembered launching an online TV network and forum in 2003 for Footaction USA, 2 years before YouTube.  It failed.

I reminisced about Locker Freakz, the online sneakerhead community we built for Foot Locker that was accessed via a secret 3D lenticular code.  Not many people bothered in 2005.

And of course I couldn’t forget the pride and joy of unveiling one of the first MySpace pages at Liz Claiborne for the MEXX brand in 2006!   We all know how that ended.

Aside from my personal use of social networks and some freelance stuff for non-profits, my social media journey was littered with digital skeletons.  For pride’s sake I’d like to think I was a man ahead of my time.  A digital Da Vinci of sorts.  Dreaming up helicopters and solar power before we ever realized the Earth was actually not the center of the universe.  Or not.

Whatever the case, the conversation that day planted a seed worth watering.  Two years later and the RadioShack social practice has blossomed beyond my greatest expectations.  This time around, the team can look back and see thriving programs that raised the bar and built a blueprint for an iconic brand.  The skeletons have become lessons.

Today is my last day at The Shack.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with, learn from, challenge and grow alongside such a talented team.  Staying true to my sappy heritage, here’s my list of the top 10 things I’ll miss at RadioShack.

10. Cupcakes


I seriously gained at least 15 pounds my first year here.  From birthdays to baby showers, we never turn down an opportunity to dine on these delightful little devils.

9. Cycling

Mouthfuls of cupcakes in 2010 led to miles of cycling in 2011.  Our Team RadioShack partnership introduced me to an intriguing sport and a community of people who are dedicated to beating cancer.  (Yes, I’ll take my bike to Plano)

8. Award Hardware

I remain immensely proud of the work this team has delivered in such a short time.  Having the opportunity to accept a Forrester Research Groundswell award on behalf of our social team and agency partners is something not easily forgotten.  The award will stay here where it belongs.

7. Meeting Tweeple

I’ve been all over the U.S. representing the brand and flipping the switch on mental light bulbs as people rediscovered RadioShack.  Our Twitter chats and Facebook promotions were notable, but no replacement for a handshake, a face-to-face discussion, a concert ticket gifted to an unexpected fan or the thrill of hearing thousands of fans scream “RadioShack!” as their favorite cyclist races by.

6. Lawyers

Yep, lawyers.  RadioShack attorneys aren’t just mere legal experts wielding torts and bylaws.  These studs are lawyers by trade and cowboys by birth.  Many have worked here since nineteen-eighty-sumthin’ and they remind me of Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones‘ characters from the western film classic Lonesome Dove.  My favorite RadioShack cowboy is Toss Hobbs who penned the all-time best response for employees who insists they have the right to curse out their employer online (immortalized in the pic above).

5. Paulisms

Every office has a Paul.  He’s the guy who has perfected the art of the corporate cliché to the point where it comes way too naturally.  Paul’s finest phraseology includes: “All boats rise.  Top of the trees.  Don’t boil the ocean.  That’s not a big idea.  Circle the wagons.  Peel back the onion.  Low hanging fruit.”  Interestingly enough, we all know what he means.  You will be missed my friend.

4. Videos

The team produced more than 260 videos in 1 year and doubled our YouTube views.  These guys unboxed phones, crashed CES, bonded with geeks, discovered the Abominable Snowman and brought a 90-year-old brand to life.  I should have been an agent.

3. Nerd Power

Once upon a time geeks ruled the world and RadioShack was their playground.  These days they still call the shots and we’re trying to win them back.  In 2011 we made a concerted, deliberate effort to re-engage the DIY community and start a real conversation.  The feedback we received was real, warranted and way overdue.  Ultimately it’s made us a stronger marketing team by enhancing the most critical exercise of all, listening.

2. Friends of The Shack

If good help is hard to find then I struck the goldmine.  Our agencies (BSSP, Mindshare, imc2, Weber Shandwick) are second to none and I was lucky to work with such passionate partners.  The campaigns we produced working with Facebook, foursquare, Twitter, Google and other social allies collectively moved the needle and taught us all a thing or two in the process. [My 5 Favorite RadioShack Social Media Campaigns]

1. Team RadioShack

This one’s predictable but certain.  The RadioShack family is 35,000 members strong and my wife and I are proud of our time together.  Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, RadioShack always represented technology, innovation and community.  It’s great to know those things still remain true and the brand is in capable hands.

See you soon!

Twitter – @adriandparker
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/adriandparker

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, RadioShack

My 5 Favorite RadioShack Social Campaigns

In the past 2 years the RadioShack social team has had just as many failures as successes.  For every article highlighting our innovative use of technology, there’s an equally as articulated report detailing what we learned from loss.

And, therein lies the sweet spot of marketing leadership: when you give your team permission to fail you also give them the tools to succeed.  So, just in case you weren’t following our every move these past 2 years (unimaginable!) here’s a recap of my 5 favorite RadioShack campaigns along with a “behind the scenes” factoid for each.

1. LIVESTRONG Team 28

This program started as a brainstormed solution to a simple question: how do we allow people across the globe to support Team RadioShack and the 28 million people battling cancer?  In addition to partnering with imc2 agency, we worked with UK-based shop Storm Ideas to build the custom “Twibbons” for the 2010 Tour de France bike race.  Users were able to display their support for Team 28 by tagging the number “28” on their social avatars. It evolved into a 4-month multi-media platform that included a Times Square takeover in NYC and profile pics being broadcast live across the globe.  Ultimately, it raised $30,000 for LIVESTRONG and the fight against cancer and remains one of my favorite activations.

FACT: The bright idea to transform the numerous Twitter and Facebook profile images into a mosaic of Lance Armstrong came from a Facebook fan.

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2. Twitter Powers Holiday Heroes

RadioShack’s award-winning 2010 holiday marketing campaign brought the “Holiday Heroes” theme to life by unleashing the power of Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and other emerging platforms.  I’d certainly love to say we knew it would be such a huge success, but the list of unknown factors far outweighed conventional marketing wisdom.  While our agency partners (and even some Twitter reps) thought we were crazy for using unproven, unknown hashtags for our Promoted Trends, we actually had a secret weapon.  Our consumers.  We used our fans & followers as an impromptu test audience to observe the shareability of the trends.  Not only did the campaign increase awareness and engagement, it also sold phones.  Imagine that.  The video below is a recap of our #IfIHadSuperPowers Twitter trend.

FACT:  Our first Promoted Trend flopped miserably.  We were redeemed a week later after the next trend when Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sent an email informing the team we had broken a record for impressions & engagement during a trend.

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3. Product Launch: HTC EVO 3D

RadioShack is 90 years old so we rarely get the chance to party like rockstars, let alone with them.  In this case, for the launch of the iconic EVO 3D phone we partnered with Sony, Sprint and HTC to release the device to the world in grand fashion.  Whether or not you’re a fan of Paris Hilton, LMFAO or our other celeb attendees, you must admit this is an unexpected way to celebrate new technology.  From Tweets and drinks to celebs and cars, the launch was covered across the country and came together in just 4 weeks.

FACT: The @RadioShack Tweets during the event were being curated & published by our intern back in Fort Worth as we funneled her pics, vids and updates. Long night.

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4. @RadioShackLIVE at the Tour de France

What do you get when you give 2 guys a box full of RadioShack gear and send them to France to experience the world’s biggest cycling race? More than 200 videos and 8 days of pure comedy.  imc2 agency procured 2 of Second City’s funniest improv comedians – Jordan & Steve – and we shipped them all over France.  In addition to our newly created @RadioShackLIVE Twitter account, our US audience followed the happenings on our Facebook tab which included a pair of virtual phones for tracking Tweets, videos, images and updates.

FACT: Honestly, though we received 100K views on YouTube we certainly anticipated more views.  This is the best campaign you never saw.

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5. #S0RightLive

This campaign is easily the most memorable.  Last December we hosted #SoRightLive, our first-ever live video webcast featuring RadioShack products and people.  Powered by Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, the event included 5 broadcast segments showcasing “So Right” gifts: from smartphones and RC cars to headphones and DIY tech kits.  All segments were hosted by RadioShack’s own Ricky Cadden, Paige Guyton, Danny Ramirez and Lauren Kushnerick and we built out a full set at the Dallas Omni Hotel.  The video below has some must-see highlights.  The results? 80 million global impressions, 550 hours of video consumed in 1 day and an average viewing time of 20 minutes. Many thanks to Alyssa and Chris from Weber Shandwick whom I hope to borrow away from their agency at some point in my career.

FACT: We rehearsed until about 1 a.m. the night before the live shoot and were deliriously tired.  Luckily Ricky and Paige were camera-ready the next day and all turned out well.  Can’t remember being more proud of the team!

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, RadioShack, Social Media

Using Real-Time Media To Drive Real Results

Last week we hosted #SoRightLive, our first-ever live video webcast featuring RadioShack products and people.  Powered by Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, the event included 5 broadcast segments showcasing “So Right” gifts: from smartphones and RC cars to headphones and DIY tech kits.  All segments were hosted by RadioShack’s own Ricky Cadden, Paige Guyton, Danny Ramirez and Lauren Kushnerick and we built out a full set at the Dallas Omni Hotel.  The video below has some must-see highlights.

 

Why is this news? Glad you asked. This combination of real people showcasing technology using social media delivered the following results:

  1. 80 million global impressions (30M U.S.)
  2. 550 total hours of video viewed with 2K streamed views.
  3. Average viewing time per user: 20 minutes
  4. 4% engagement rate on Twitter
  5. 20+ bloggers, influencers and experts participated in the on-site studio event

#SoRightLive was an experiment for all of us and there are several learnings we’ll apply to future episodes.  Since being tasked with launching the interactive practice at RadioShack my goal has been to humanize the brand and ensure our consumer communications had just as much heart as muscle.  Traditional media like TV, radio, print and direct mail play a vital role in the consumer’s path to purchase and our goal as interactive marketers is to close the loop with media, messaging and motives that builds trust.  It’s a word we don’t use enough considering it ultimately decides how, where and when consumer’s spend their money.

Thanks to everyone for their hard work on delivering with excellence today while moving the needle for tomorrow.  More to come. Get ready 2012.

Would love to hear from other digital marketers and influencers on their experience with live events. What role can it play in driving real conversations?

 

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, RadioShack, Social Media

Groundswell Award Unlocks Social Media Super Powers

Last week I had the honor of accepting a Groundswell Award from Forrester Research on behalf of the RadioShack marketing team and imc2 agency.  We earned top honors for our 2010 Holiday Heroes social media campaign and it was a very humbling experience on many levels. When I started at RadioShack in January 2010, I was left with one lonely mandate: read the book Groundswell.

Two years after launching the social media practice there, not only were we being recognized by the very people who wrote the book on social, but also we were considered among 200 other entries, including Mercedes Benz, Starbucks, MTV, Sprint, Best Buy and *gulp* Britney Spears.

You can check out the winning campaign, press and other details online. For now, you absolutely must peep the above acceptance video imc2 created for the ceremony. It’s epic.

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, RadioShack, Social Media

365 Days of Social Media: How I Learned by Shutting My Mouth

One year ago today I traded in my brand consulting hat for a full-time gig as head of social media for RadioShack Corporation.  RadioShack (aka “The Shack”) was an iconic retail brand in the middle of an immense push to amplify their voice and give consumers a compelling reason to tune back in.  And there I was, a guy who made a living showing, telling and selling others on how to make their marketing work smarter. A love affair ensued.

Of course, as with interpersonal relationships, there were strings attached. To be quite transparent, though I was blessed with a career working with some really great brands and people, I was not a social media guru (imagine the shame). To effectively embrace the shift from employer to employee, marketing generalist to social specialist and agency to client, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I shut up.

Why? After years of always having the answers, it was nice to listen, learn, unlearn and focus on asking the right questions.  Focus is a fruit of priorities so I chose to do a little self-pruning in order to make social media a professional priority, not just a personal hobby.

I went radio silent on my own social branding efforts. No more personal blogging. No more consulting sessions. Tweeting was sporadic at best. Though I love speaking at conferences and swapping ideas, you couldn’t find me on any panel. Equipped with only a handful of questions and a good attitude, I jumped head first into this space, determined to understand both social media and The Shack from the inside out.

There’s a material reason practically every business planning process begins with the same first step, research.  Afterall, being understood as a problem-solver requires that you first understand the problem. The not-so-obvious challenge to many in interactive marketing and emerging media, especially on the brand side, is we oftentimes must construct our own research through experience.  This isn’t research in the traditional sense of analytics, insights, segmentation and data mining, though that’s critically important too. The experiences required to birth and grow a sustainable social media presence on the enterprise level involve an additional layer of education.

I like to call it a Social Media Learning Plan. Essentially, it’s a hands-on approach to figuring out what to do while testing how to do it.  Mine consisted of 3 related, yet discreet, phases:

Phase 1: Identify and understand your audience from the outside in.

Phase 2: Transform social media goals into enterprise-wide objectives.

Phase 3: Test, learn and implement the strategy while building the tools to support.

It begins and ends with doing, learning is the hard earned by-product. A learning plan means making a deliberate effort not to pull the trigger and, instead, opting to educate yourself about your weapon, the ammunition and, most importantly, the target.  While considered table stakes in some industries, planning for interactive learning is a luxury in retail that often decays under tremendous pressure to perform, exceed and adjust simultaneously.

Over the next several days, I’d like to remove the virtual duct tape from my mouth and share this learning plan along with the fruits of my 365 days of social learning. From missteps and milestones to failures and discoveries, experience has been a great teacher. Of course, I’d love to swap learnings, resources and perspectives on interactive marketing with you. It’s also an exciting time to be in the Consumer Electronics and Mobility sector – I’ll discuss tech info when I can.

As always, feedback is a gift.

Thx for taking the time to read and feel free to connect with me on Twitter at @adriandparker.

AP

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, RadioShack, Social Media