Twitter Partnership Lays a Blueprint

Talk about an inspiring partnership.

A while back I wrote a post on forging partnerships and the benefits that allies working together can leverage for a marketing campaign or a business. I’m sitting here in the Production Room of a studio in Boston, preparing for a live webcast today, and noticed on my RSS feed an article about a new Twitter feed and website developed by a partnership of Twitter, Microsoft and Federated Media.

Twitter Inc. and ad network Federated Media on Monday unveiled what might be a new way for the popular microblogging service to make money.

They launched an “ExecTweets” page built by Federated Media and sponsored by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) that collects Twitter postings, known as tweets, by prominent corporate executives.

Despite the typical rants and raves of users any time a brand or corporate entity tries to leverage a mainstream social media community like Facebook or Twitter, this kind of partnership provides value. Other than digesting one these executives’ corporate blogs, this may be the next-best way to get into their heads. Possibly even in a more personal, less-jargon-filled way (wait, I’m a marketer…jargon is good!). It could be a bueprint for companies that want to leverage Twitter in a powerful, contextual way.

Again, I advise you to take a good, long look at potential partnerships, and think differently about how to accomplish goals that look unreachable by working with others.

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New Study Tells Same Old News

I love it when a new press release or article comes out for a new study that tells you the same old things you already knew. I mean, nothing wrong with some good spin and PR, who am I to hate on that?

But c’mon, I don’t need a new IBM study to tell me about the convergence of direct marketing and branding.

Return-on-investment direct marketing and traditional brand advertising are converging online, according to “Beyond Advertising: Choosing a Strategic Path to the Digital Consumer,” a report released Monday by IBM Global Business Services.

Hasn’t direct marketing, and every other form of direct-response, always converged with branding? It has for me. Probably you too. Maybe we’ve always just been on the cutting-edge. Don’t you always ensure brand messaging is consistent across channels? Don’t you have a brand style guide to ensure visuals are consistent across all media? Doesn’t customer experience begin at the moment the customer reaches a touchpoint and extend all the way through post-sale?

So I was thinking “This is old news.” Not even worth a good, long look. Then a little Google search turns up Fox Business coverage that provides more robust perspective and analysis that came from the study (kinda disappointed in the B2B article cited above…focused on that one little snippet that was old news anyway…why?). Now this tells me something interesting:

According to the study, today’s suppliers (agencies, content networks and distributors) are not ready to meet the demands of the digital consumer and advertiser. Eighty percent of advertising industry participants interviewed for the study expect the industry to be at least five years away from being able to deliver true cross-platform advertising (including sales, delivery, measurement and analysis).

Surely our advertising and media delivery systems evolve on a damn-near daily basis now. It’s interesting to know that the “suppliers” recognize the shifting demands of both consumers and how to reach them, and are charging ahead with solutions to make brand messaging and measurement truly seamless.

If success at that endeavor, according to them, is five years away, I wonder how far away it’ll be in five years? It’s not like evolving demands will cease at present day.

Consistency — Again and Again

Every time I go through JetBlue’s Terminal 5, I find myself inspired and then writing about something while I’m flying.

Did I say flying? I meant “jetting.”

JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” campaign is proof of the critcal role that consistency plays in marketing. Without going through a detailed description of all the campaign’s finer points (it’s cool, look it up and take a good, long look) or its many subpar reviews, it basically tries to redefine flying according to JetBlue’s creative messaging, catchy humor, and customer-first value proposition. Consistency is important to any marketing campaign of course, yet when you’re trying to redefine something or change a perception, it takes on an even greater importance. That’s because if the message isn’t always consistent at every touchpoint, it’s easy for that old definition or perception to stick around.

The “Happy Jetting” campaign takes center stage at every customer touchpoint. Advertising and customer acquisition campaigns across all media channels. The JetBlue website when you book a flight. The signage you see from the minute you first hit Terminal 5. The directional and branding brochure you get in the terminal. The messaging on-screen at the check-in kiosks. The screens and signs around the terminal and on the at-gate food-ordering stations. The messaging on-screen when you sit in your seat and the in-flight DirectTV boots up.

And, most importantly, in the words of JetBlue employees from the Terminal 5 entrance right through walking off the plane. I mean, jet.

That last part is sometimes where the translation gets lost. All the other stuff is easier — write the message, design the creative, print the signs, push the button. Whatever it is, most of it is within matketing’s purview. When it comes to absorbing a message into the company culture and a staff’s countless interactions with customers, however, it is alot more challenging. And if the translation gets lost, your work gets lost, along with all the things sacred to that campaign — ROI, share, sales, changed perceptions, successful differentiation, etc.

There are a few things you can do to help your staff absorb your branding message and deliver it to your customers:

  • Explain the business value of the campaign — how it helps move the needle, how it helps accomplish goals
  • Utilize customer feedback — match up your campaign logic and strategy with qualitative and quantitative feedback
  • Provide a list of talking points — it’s easier to say when someone else scripts it for you
  • Also, work with the different areas of your team to help them buy into the campaign and integrate their talking points into their routine. Spend time with them and help make the branding message unique in terms of what they say or how they deliver it. This will make it easier to buy-in and charge ahead as your ally.

    New Whitepaper on Web 2.0

    In such a challenging economy, the number of value-centric offers is becoming overwhelming. Everyone is offering more for less — or more for free — and letting you know about it.

    Now you can add this blog to the list too.

    The freebie you get here is knowledge. You get it in the form of a free whitepaper on Web 2.0 best practices for B2B media companies, which I think is worth a good, long look. As Chair of the American Business Media’s Media Marketing Committee, myself and some highly-skilled colleagues pulled together and put in the time to create this whitepaper. I’ve put in some good time on Web 2.0 and social media projects, especially lately, and my committee members from Business.com, MarketingProfs.com and Questex Media Group have as well. Kudos to Ben Hanna, Tara Curran and Michelle Mitchell for their input on this project.

    The whitepaper focuses on education for B2B media executives who may not be highly familiar with all of the Web 2.0 tactics and technologies out there today. Or maybe their companies have been slow to embrace the potential (and potential costs) of Web 2.0 — believe me, among B2B publishing companies, there are definitely some guilty of moving too slow on this.

    This whitepaper includes results of an email research survey we created and sent to ABM members. It included some surprising results on the use and perceptions of Web 2.0 — only 15% consider themselves “pros” on Web 2.0 and social media. That number has to improve.

    Hopefully this whitepaper is a good first step in that direction.

    Get the free whitepaper right here before you charge ahead with your plans for Web 2.0.