Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘thought leaders’ Category

Turbo Slidecast: Organizing For Social Business

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I mentioned in a post recently that I was to speak at the annual WOMMA Summit (WOMMA standing for “Word Of Mouth Marketing Association”) about IBM’s efforts to better organize itself to take advantage of the social business opportunity.

After lumbering through the SlideShare “slidecast” capability and learning my way around (and no, it really wasn’t that difficult — I’m just a slow learner), I was able to create a slidecast of the presentation I gave in Las Vegas for those of you who may be interested.

As I noted in that blog post leading up to my talk, the general theme of my session there centered on the challenges and opportunities larger organizations face as they go about building their social strategies, and sharing particular insights and experiences we’ve had inside IBM on this front.

At IBM, our social business strategy has very much centered around one of our best market-facing emissaries, the IBMer! If you’ve kept pace with any of our marketing initiatives in recent times, you know that the IBMer is front and center in those communications, most notably in our TV advertising, but also extensively in the digital and social media as well.

But their participation doesn’t end there.

We’ve featured subject matter experts extensively across a wide range of topics and across a range of venues in the digital and social media space, as well as in other public and sometimes private venues (think conferences, events, customer meetings, etc.).

This direction is very much in keeping with IBM’s high-touch sales heritage, but builds on that legacy by making our people more accessible via social venues as well.

So, please, take some time out of your busy day if you’re interested in learning more about IBM’s social business efforts, and hopefully you’ll walk away with some of the actionable insights we’ve garnered that can help you and your organization in your own social business journey.

Just click on the arrow to play, kick back, and relax!

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: A Q&A With Nate Silver On The Promise Of Prediction

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Day 3 at Information On Demand 2012.

The suggestion to “Think Big” continued, so Scott Laningham and I sat down very early this morning with Nate Silver, blogger and author of the now New York Times bestseller, “The Signal and the Noise” (You can read the review of the book in the Times here).

Nate, who is a youngish 34, has become our leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling, but made his original name by building a widely acclaimed baseball statistical analysis system called “PECOTA.”

Today, Nate runs the award-winning political website FiveThirtyEight.com, which is now published in The New York Times and which has made Nate the public face of statistical analysis and political forecasting.

In his book, the full title of which is “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” Silver explores how data-based predictions underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling to weather forecasting to the stock market to chess to the war on terror.

In the book, Nate poses some key questions, including what kind of predictions can we trust, and are the “predicters” using reliable methods? Also, what sorts of things can, and cannot, be predicted?

In our conversation in the greenroom just prior to his keynote at Information On Demand 2012 earlier today, Scott and I probed along a number of these vectors, asking Nate about the importance of prediction in Big Data, statistical influence on sports and player predictions (a la “Moneyball”), how large organizations can improve their predictive capabilities, and much more.

It was a refreshing and eye-opening interview, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Scott and I enjoyed conducting it!

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit: A Q&A With Liz Strauss

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Scott and I sat down for a few rounds of interviews starting yesterday morning here at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando, Florida.

We had a number of social media luminaries in attendance, and first up was Liz Strauss, founder of the business networking event, SOBcon and author of the ever-popular blog, Successful-Blog.com.

Our topics? Blogging, of course, as well as some insight and background about SOBcon.

My favorite quote from Liz: “Write intelligently from the heart.”

Watch the video to learn what Liz meant by that!

Written by turbotodd

September 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Jose Luis-Iribarren On Social Network Diffusion

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Jose Luis-Iribarren is a 25-year veteran of IBM who led the Olympics Web projects for the Atlanta Summer games in 1996, Nagano in 1998 and the Sydney games in 2000, where he received the IBM Chairman Award for his work. At the Institute of Knowledge Engineering, Jose Luis has most recently been applying Social Network Analysis techniques to e-marketing. His goal with that effort is to develop a quantitative model of information diffusion through online social networks.

The strangest things happen when you find yourself walking out of an elevator (or, as they call it here in Europe, a “lift”) in hotels halfway around the world.

In my case, I stumbled upon an old friend this morning, Jose Luis-Iribarren, a former IBMer and now social networks innovation manager with the Institute of Knowledge Engineering here in Madrid.

Jose Luis spent 25 years at IBM, where he led the creation of the first official Web Site for an Olympic Games for Atlanta in 1996.

I also had the opportunity to hear firsthand some of his experiences in “pathfinding” the early digital marketing milieu, as well as some fascinating stories about his experiences helping manage the Web (including learning about the “Bento Box” effect in the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games).

It was a far-ranging discussion about the cutting edge of digital marketing, and a great opportunity to renew the acquaintance of old friend.

And all because of the serendipity of an elevator, and the real-world network effect!

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Marriott’s Stephan Chase On Customer-Centricity

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It’s one thing to hear from our capable IBM execs at events like the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Madrid.

Marriott’s vice president of consumer knowledge, Stephan Chase, explains to the gathered IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit crowd in Madrid on Tuesday afternoon the secret to Marriott’s customer-centric approach in the hospitality industry.

It’s a whole other thing to hear from our customers, and that’s precisely what we were able to do in our general session yesterday afternoon.

Stephan Chase, who is the vice president for customer knowledge at Marriott International, took the stage at the Hotel Auditorium to explain how Marriott has come to adjust to a more data-centric world.

Chase started his talk with an anecdote about the cards his staff left in restrooms to encourage people to re-use their towels, with the vantage point differing on the meaning of the data like Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai — the story you got back depended on who was retelling it!

But, ultimately, Chase observed, the so-called “preference cascade” effect kicked in.  The cascade being that phenomenon where an individual thinks they’re the only one thinking something, or the only ones in their social circle, when, in fact, they discover there are plenty of others are thinking the same thing.

And, hence, they all start to change their behavior.

Yes, as it came to mind in my own head, it’s all very Malcolm Gladwell “Tipping Point-ish.”

Chase went on to explain that this phenomenon brings to mind that in the modern age, and particularly for hotels, but also more generally, it’s become even more important that what you do is much more important than what you say.

Generation C will sniff out any inconsistency between the two, and it won’t matter what you write on the card or say in your commercial if your actual organizational behavior is not living up to your actions.

Chase then related a story about his grandmother, explaining she used to say that “we are all servants,” and that he didn’t understand what she meant until he’d worked for Marriott for a number of years, and recognizing that in the hospitality industry, he was in a service-oriented business where actions always spoke louder than words.

“When founder Bill Marriott created our first hotel in 1957, he had a saying,” Chase explained.  “Take care of the associate. And they’ll take care of the customer. And the customer will keep coming back.”

With that saying, Marriott went on to open some 3,700 hotels in 70 countries, and to this day, the company focuses on discovering and applying truth for the benefit of customer and company alike.

He explained there are three key factors in hospitality: Freedom of choice, transparent pricing and repeat and referral.  That is to say, there are plenty of hotels that will be price competitive, so the consumer has a lot of choice when it comes to hotels, and that there are very few monopolistic businesses.  In the hotel business in particular, the majority of their business are not with “one-time stayers,” but rather people who (hopefully) keep coming back.

Therefore, in our social-mediated world, “connected customers are the best customers: They have a broad set of experiences, provide valuable feedback, and are engaged in greater variety of channels,” whether that be via smartphone, landline Internet, or even phone.

Then, Chase shared a key insight of the Marriott customer base: “If you take a look at your customer base and you abstract out their future value, I bet you’d find something: The broader the set of purchases and channels they engage with, the greater their future value!”

Therefore, Marriott’s Smarter Commerce evolution has been to focus on engaging the “connected” consumer to drive increased demand by delivering relevant messages to them, providing appropriate and relevant service, and also by recognizing milestones in the relationship (through points award programs and the like).

“If you do a good job of it,” Chase observed, “the customer will be more likely to come back. Thinking about the outcome (coming back), as opposed to the method (the marketing or service), is what will help keep you focused.”

With that, Chase left the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit audience with some actionable “to dos”:

1. Marketing should focus on WHAT to do — the IT organization should focus on HOW to do it

2. Focus on positive customer outcomes

3. Measure results, refine, and revise.

If you do those things, Chase concluded, you’ll realize some key lessons learned that will provide long-term customer connections and a roadmap for success that will fit your culture for years to come.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Deja Mi, Deja Vu

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I’m still here in Madrid…they told me I can’t leave until later in the week, that I’ll be chained to my laptop.

Deja Mi, the Raleigh, NC-based mobile startup, is being featured at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Madrid. Self-described as a combination of Foursquare and Instagram, Deja Mi’s technology is being used at the event to create a shared pictorial experience based on geolocation data. I just downloaded the app, and will soon be interviewing the CEO and co-founder, Justin Miller (@imjustinmiller).

But, they don’t have to chain me, as I’m very excited about the opening day of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit.

Being stuck here in a hotel on the outskirts of Madrid — and I do mean, the outskirts — there’s been a lot of time to focus and reflect on the conference tidings.  I’m especially excited about today’s opening general session, which will transpire in the early afternoon Madrid time (way early for you U.S. East Coasters).

Craig Hayman, the general manager of IBM’s Industry Solutions group, will be providing the set up for the rest of the event in his keynote, “Smarter Commerce Engaging the Empowered Customer.”

As mentioned in my initial post yesterday, in the age of the empowered customer, the customer is the center of all interactions, and is driving many of the decisions companies are taking to accommodate changing consumer requirements.

We’re also going to hear from a couple of IBM customers, including ING CIO Ron van Kemenade, who will explain “Changing the Way Companies Interact With Customers Based on Mobile and Social Media.” A topic near and dear to my heart.

And Ruth Spencer, Boots UK’s Director of Insight, Loyalty, and Multi-Channel, who will discuss “Driving Customer Loyalty Across All Channels,” which will examine Boots’ strategy for segmenting and targeting customers based on deep insights.

I aspire to have a recap of some of this session later on today, but in the meantime, keep your eyes on the Twitter hashtag for the event, #IBMSCGS, as there will be lots of folks Tweeting real-time throughout the day.

In the meantime, if you’re following along with our bouncing ball virtually, you’ll want to go check out this white paper, which explains the opportunity and benefits of Smarter Commerce far better than I could.

I’ll also be leading a Tweetup at 12 PM Madrid time (6 AM EST), where I’ll be discussing the drivers and realities of using social media in social commerce.  If you’re in the U.S. and can’t sleep, feel free to join us, again via the hashtag #IBMSCGS.

IBM ImpactTV 2012 Instant Replay: Bob Sutor On Tackling The Massive Mobile Enterprise Opportunity

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Recently at IBM Impact in Las Vegas, Scott Laningham and I had the opportunity to sit down with a wide variety of great speakers, including our senior VPs Steve Mills and Mike Rhodin, whose instant replays I’ve already shared.

Most of those folks, we gave about ten minutes.  But there’s been such immense interest in the enterprise mobile topic, that when we sat down with IBM’s VP of WebSphere Foundation and IBM Mobile, Bob Sutor, we spoke for a good 18 minutes.

That’s not only because Bob was a scintillating and thoughtful guest, which he always is, but because there’s a lot to talk about in the mobile space.

So much of the oxygen recently has been around Facebook’s valuation and the rise of BYOD…but there are much more practical and necessary concerns that organizations need to think about as they start to build out their mobile strategies.

Things like application lifecycle development, cross-platform development, and that bugaboo that always rears its head in the mobile conversation, security and privacy.

Bob takes them all on and more in the far-ranging interview below:

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