Social Media: Where Does It Belong?

As part of a continuing series for the ACA – Association of Canadian Advertisers, the following post offers an ‘enterprise view’ of how to organize for social media. For the most part, advertisers are keely aware that any customer-facing activity does not fall exclusively within the domain of a singular function, department or business discipline. Indeed, the cross-enterprise approach is often the only way to provide a consistent delivery of customer value and in turn get feedback on performance.  This also avoids one of the most dangerous of obstacles that inhibits business  transformation…

To read on, please go to:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-where-does-it-belong/

En Francais:

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/qui-controle-les-medias-sociaux/

– Ted Morris

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Media Integration: The Tradigital Mix

This post originally appeared in the Association of Canadian Advertisers newsletter, The ACA Edge:  http://www.acaweb.ca/en/media-integration-the-%e2%80%98tradigital%e2%80%99-mix/

I was recently reading Golf Magazine, a publication of the Time Inc. Sports Group, which includes Sports Illustrated amongst its media assets. Golf Magazine serves as a hub, trigger or catalyst for viewing relevant content through a range of media types and other brand platforms. Here’s why:

There is a section in Golf Magazine called “Your Game” which is an instructional piece made up of various illustrations, stats and descriptive text on, for example, how to improve putting from short distances. In the bottom left corner of the page, there is a pointer to the magazine’s website at www.golf.com/putting  where there is an online video of the same lesson featuring additional information about the putting process. Golf.com has a link to Twitter (@si_golf). Videos are featured on YouTube, Golf Magazine’s channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/GolfMagazine.

At www.golf.com , there are links to various sites related to events on the PGA pro tour, content related to golf travel, course ratings, opinions and reviews to name but a few of the possibilities. In the current issue of Golf Magazine, there is even a new program that brings it together with SI Golf and Golf.com to enable the audience to “See, Try, Buy” the latest in golf equipment with links to OEMs and dealers. Many advertisers in Golf Magazine have links to ‘freemium’ social network platforms – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – offering additional product content.

Then there are those who write for Golf Magazine who are also commentators on television networks that broadcast golf such as CBS and NBC. It goes without saying that many PGA pros are featured throughout all of the golf media choices. Writers and PGA pros (some 85 are on Twitter) contribute content. Readers and web viewers alike also post their opinions often indicative of topics that drive engagement. There are several blogs: http://blogs.golf.com/equipment.

Golf Magazine is a good illustration of how the “Tradigital” media mix can provide a rich experience through a host of choices for accessing relevant content by integrating traditional and new media. This transformation of brands to a broad media mix reflects the adoption of a new business model that optimizes traditional and new media in order to bring about the right mix for the audience –paid, owned, sold, earned. CMO’s should find this inspiring. It’s not really complicated. Get started, try things out, see what works and like a recipe, add to the media mix until it’s just right.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The ROI on Social Media: Time to bring in an accounting framework

CMA Magazine

It’s time for Social media and social commerce to step up to the plate when it comes to accountability.

I’ve seen a lot of talk about the benefits of social media often without supporting financials that make for a solid business case. What I have seen so far tends to be a typical set of flimsy metrics, that, while indicative of incremental performance, do not explain causality to the bottom line. Other cases have used the term “ROI” very loosely without regard to the rigour of GAAP financial accounting methods. In short, I felt that it was time to speak to the issue. With the help of Syncapse, TD Bank and McDonald’s, I have opened the discussion of the kind you may want to have with CFO if you’re intent on moving the social media agenda forward within your organization.

The article can be found in the Premier issue of CMA Magazine – a newly revamped version of CMA Management Magazine, geared to the Digital Age.

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/SMAS0111/#/20

I have always been fortunate to have a long standing relationship with CMA Magazine. Back in 2003 I wrote my first article titled “What Management Accountants Should Know About Market-Driven Quality”. 

Over the years, I authored 4 articles and one book of guideliness (when I partnered with Bradley T. Gale, formerly of the PIMS Institute) the recurring theme has been about financial accountability. This has always been important to me as a business manager based on my belief that if the impact of an activity cannot me measured, specifically in a ways that draws a link between money invested and return on that money invested, then it should be questioned insofar as its contribution to the performance of the enterprise. This does not suggest that everything needs to delivery hard financials re. EBITDA. What is does mean is that every activity has to have some associated set of metrics that help to explain the value of that activity and its relative contribution.  Whether you use hard financials or a series of performance metrics across all functional groups, measures are required in order to gauge the return on effort.

Being a manager means being accountable for your actions.

Ted Morris – 4ScreensMedia

Seeing Through the Cloud of New Media Choices

A Cloud By Any Other Name Is Still A Cloud: Outcomes are only clear once out of the cloud.

I recently had the good fortune to write an article on behalf of the Association of Canadian Advertisers – ACA. My intent was to provide a fly-over of the complexities of the current media environment and the effect of Social Media as an additive element to what the Boston Consulting Group – BCG refers to as the “CMO Dilemma”   in managing the overall media mix within a Galaxy of Media Choices. To emphasize – this is not a matter of choosing one communications medium over another, nor is this advocacy for Social Media. It’s about making the best choices in the determining the optimal media mix for a product category, brand or creative concept.

The ACA’s membership is advertisers. Numbering some 100+,  all are household names such as Clorox, MacDonald’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola Ltd, Hasbro, Visa, Kraft and Nokia. One aspect of the ACA’s mission is to ensure that their membership “…maximizes their investments in all forms of marketing communications”. The italics is mine, if only to underscore the tremendous challenges that face the CMO in seeing through the cloud of new media choices and effectively managing media mix resources. It’s easy to theorize and point out media success stories, it’s another thing to roll your sleeves up and do the heavy lifting.

Here is the full text of the article:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-seeing-through-the-cloud-of-new-media-choices/

En francais: Les médias sociaux : comment s’y retrouver dans ce nuage de choix?

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/les-medias-sociaux-comment-s%e2%80%99y-retrouver-dans-ce-nuage-de-choix/#more-3875

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Ahead of the Curve Behind the 8-Ball

It wasn’t long ago that the clamoring for CEO’s to get with the latest program by using Twitter and various social media platforms, reached a feverish pitch.  As usual, those forever looking for shreds of evidence that ‘social media’ pays out a clear cut ROI, would trot out lists of companies (and their CEO’s) who ‘got it’. Funny thing was, most of those lists, and many related cased studies were  mainly of obscure companies in the early stages of growth. Naturally, a 500% growth rate as a result of using Twitter, was impressive though less so when the base number for that growth rate was near zero, the kind of stats that investment fund advisors like to use when people have little appetite for buying stocks following a market meltdown. 

There have been case studies, some from reputable technology analysts, touting remarkable cost savings. Beyond the headline, the data showed a savings of $4M over 3 years for a certain USD$100B technology provider using social media as a collaboration tool.  In the end, this seemed a bit on the light side. No pun intended here but greater savings might have been had by turning the office lights off when people left for the day.

There has also been a lull in those declaring their location. Shout outs for Foursquare and various locational platforms seem rather muted of late. The initial interest seemed to be focused around luring people into retail premises by pushing discounted offers out to the latte-rati, more recently up-sized to the Starbucks version of 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp. Adoption hasn’t been that broad and one wonders if location-based applications are still looking for a real business problem to solve.

Lastly, not to make too fine a point, recent press by ‘those in the social know’ are now suggesting that too many offers, tweets, friending by brands for the sake of friending and a general overloading of Facebook fan pages by some brands, has started to turn some people off. Mashable had some recent thoughts on this issue of why people are unfollowing certain brands. I also expressed in a post from last year, building on a thought piece by the Economist, that there is so much data out there, one wonders what is to be done with it all – and that was when YouTube, Facebook and the like where just getting ramped up with the posting of video and photos. Clearly, when a brand fails to deliver on the promise, even CEO tweets can’t come to the rescue, GAP logo changes notwithstanding. Again, ask yourself, are we solving a business problem or just creating stuff to do because we’re not sure exactly what to do?

If you’re indeed feeling both ahead of the curve implementing certain technologies and behind the eight ball in terms of getting measureable business results, consider this: any organization that undertakes a transformation, in this case toward the Social Enterprise, cannot achieve success by leading with technology. This is what happened to early adopters of CRM in the last decade. Success can in fact be achieved, notably for companies that are truly customer-centric (culture/process/technology) who understanstand those things that deliver value to the customer relative to competition re. the “Outside-In” approach. IBM, Ford, McDonald’s, P&G are a few companies who do this consistently and have the financial results as proof.

This is not news, in fact, it’s an old principle advocated by Peter Drucker some 50 years ago. While it’s tempting to drink the latest elixir of technology, it pays to stick to managerial fundamentals, much like accountants use GAAP methods to keep track of every dollar earned.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Toward A New Media Scorecard

Many Cups of Earned Media Value

I recently penned a soon-to-be-published article in a management accounting magazine – or should I say  “paid media”  publication – about valuating  a firm’s social media effort within the accounting framework.

My thinking was triggered by Syncapse, a social media management firm, who released a study in 2010 called the Value of a Facebook Fan: An Empirical Review.  As an example, they determined, using data collected from a survey of 4000 brand users, that a Starbucks (SBUX) fan on Facebook was worth about USD$235.22 on an annualized basis. The comparable figure for a non-fan was USD$110.95. If I read this correctly, Starbucks’ Facebook fans of 17M strong are worth about $4 billion annually in sales. 

Another study, the Fast Food Industry Media Value Report, by General Sentiment, a New York-based firm specializing in sentiment analysis, brings together online WOM, web traffic and online news readership data as the basis to estimate Earned Media exposure value. In this report, aimed primary at the QSR industry, the quarterly Media Value estimate for Starbucks is USD$67M or $268M on an annualized basis. This compares to the roughly $50-60M adspend on paid media, of all forms, by Starbucks.
 
In each of case, the Syncapse and General Sentiment analytics generate some big numbers. When I look at the financials, the numbers actually make relative sense: Starbucks’ market capitalization is $24B, revenues are $10B and EBITDA is $1.9B for the most recent fiscal year. They have 17,000 stores are in 50 countries and have a brand legacy reaching back to 1971.
 
While I’m not suggesting that these numbers are conclusive, they do merit consideration as they attempt to quantify, in financial terms, the outcome of using social media platforms. It’s time to think a little more deeply about some new measures of performance and update the Balanced Scorecard. This might just be the ticket for the CMO and CFO to join forces in moving the New Media agenda forward. 
   
– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Hasbro: From Manufacturing to Media Powerhouse

Hasbro is no longer just about Mr. Potato Head. It is a company that has been able to unlock many brands from the vault. These brands have now become instrumental in transforming Hasbro into a media powerhouse – think Transformers, G.I. Joe and Star Wars. Movies. Very successful movies. Think Monopoly going mobile.

Hasbro will soon be launching hub, “a new TV channel for kids and families”. Here’s the point: in the past 5 years, Hasbro has delivered consistent growth in revenues, profit and stock growth. The proof is in the return on investment – just check Hasbro’s investor relations page: www.hasbro.com/corporate

Stay tuned.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia