How to win presidential elections with a digital strategy

“If the Democratic party were a body, Bernie Sanders would be the heart and Hillary Clinton the brain”

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition – and initially, nobody expected Barack Obama to have a real chance – even more so to get re-elected for a second term. What was his secret? It was being both the brains and the heart.

His method was using data to gain insight into what people care about and address that issue at each and every rally right there and then. When the issue was burning the most.

For us non-US observers it is worth remembering that the key to winning the candidacy as well as the election is not necessarily winning the votes of those who walk to the ballots. It’s about engaging those who wouldn’t.

A datadriven digital strategy

A datadriven strategy enables you to identify the issues that engage your audience.

For his first term election campaign, Obama succeeded in engaging a generation – the generation of social media which was just about to take off at the time.

RomneyObama

He was the first major political candidate to understand the power of sentiments and the power of the voice of the people outside the established channels such as television and news anchors.

By 2012 for the re-election he – or his team of advisors – had understood the power of using data to refine the message and making it timely.

The power of the crowd

As I am writing this article, the final numbers for Iowa have not yet come in, but it is a 50-50 race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In social media, Bernie Sanders has won (according to this Reuters analysis.)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders raises a fist as he speaks at his caucus night rally Des Moines

Bernie Sanders raises a fist as he speaks at his caucus night rally Des Moines. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Sanders was mentioned 77,000 times versus Clinton’s 55,000 times (Brandwatch) and gained 15,699 new Facebook followers on the one day. Clinton’s Facebook page only came third with 6,210 new followers that day, trailing Donald Trump’s 10,704.

As in all data, one must not jump to easy conclusions and take the number at it’s face value. There can be many different reasons why someone chooses to like a Facebook page – you could be liking an opponent to observe and learn, or to troll and create a disturbance. The second level of such an analysis should therefore always be a sentiment analysis and catalogueing the social media influence of these new followers to be able to conclude credibly whether this will impact a future election result.

 

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But one thing is certain – you could easily turn the intelligence gathered from this analysis into a practical campaign such as Obama did. One example is given below where the objective was to engage would-be supporters who just had not registered to vote with BigData combined with TV advertisement.

DigitalStrategyPresidentialElections

 

I can’t wait to read more analyses on how the candidates fare by making their data speak. May the best data whisperer win.

 

More interesting links to the impact of social media on US elections:

 

 

 

Marketing Tips and Tricks

The three touch engagement strategy for audience acquisitions at business events: Idea – Engagement – Push

Source: Where is everybody – where’s my ROI? Tips and Tricks to attract the right audience at your event

Where is everybody – where’s my ROI? Tips and Tricks to attract the right audience at your event

If you read my previous blog entry, you may still be looking for the best way to find the golden audience that makes you best friends with the sales teams. Here are some suggestions I have collected over the years:

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Plan with the end in mind

  • Don’t just set a date, build a 3-touch-strategy together with your stakeholders (the sales teams in most cases).
  • The theme and message has to promote and strengthen the conversations that your sales teams are having with their target prospects. Don’t push some new message or vision down their throats if this is not what their targets are interested in.
  • Be flexible – if the conversation has moved over the 8-10 weeks of planning before the event, make sure to have alternatives ready to add to the speaker list.

Email marketing – and other channels

  • Don’t publish it all at once, when you start the invite process – build an engagement staircase with at least 3 touches.
  • Expand your email campaign with social media engagement through dedicated, branded Linkedin groups, with a short, recognizable and easy to remember hashtag to use across channels before, during and after the event.
  • Another great tip is to prepare your tweets and posts so that your colleagues across the company can share without sounding like a marketing machine.
  • Make it personal, local, fun – whatever their preference is.

For your email campaign – here are the three touches I would recommend:

Image 1

Launch the idea of an event and pre-announce the date. Get the theme out there to gauge interest from your target audience. If you have a star speaker name, don’t let the cat out of the sack just yet. Have a call-to-action button for “sign me up” or “tell me more” – and make sure there is a response on the second one.

image 2

First real invite – allowing people to sign up based on an agenda with topics and speakers that are “glocal” – have a global vision but either are local or have local recognition. Always have a button “sign me up” and “tell me more” to encourage a dialogue.

image 3

Now let the cat out of the sack. Make a big boom invite only promoting date, theme, agenda and your star.

Less is more – let people click through if they want to deep dive into agenda or speaker profiles etc. That way you can capture who is interested so that your sales teams can follow up with personal emails or telephone calls.

Still not there? Time to call the cavallery

And if all fails – if you have not met your quality registration target – go the extra mile – engage with your sales teams, show them the gap between their expectation on the attending audience and their sales target accounts.

Give them a cheat sheet with talking points about the event.  Remember, you know everything about how great it will be – but they probably don’t event know the speakers or content in detail yet. Get them excited, build a dashboard or some other gamification element to let them compete with each other (and make sure there is a decent prize for the winner, so get that on the budget from the very beginning).

Help them help you succeed.

Where is everybody? Where’s my ROI?

You have a great concept – you have great speakers – you have great sponsors. You have buy-in and strategic advice from worldclass thought and business leaders. So why did nobody turn up for your conference?

By now, you have been discussing internally whether you should charge a fee and how much. You have wrung your brain about how you can guarantee the sponsors that the audience is who they are targeting. And because you can’t share the delegate data, you really need people to be there.

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Maybe you need help?

Marketing and strategic planning are there for a reason. They pave the way for your success, be it a campaign, a product launch, or an event. So make sure to get your marketing teams involved before you even set a date.

keys

Here are my three keys to successful events:

  • Content (hey, you’ve got that covered)
  • Consistency
  • Communication

Naturally, there’s more to it but if you don’t have those three Cs under control, you may just end up with a room that may be full, but not with the people you really wanted to share this experience with.

Over the years, I have seen many examples of fabulous conference who never reached the intended audience, because there was no consistency in how the event was promoted, and there was no strategy in the communication to the intended audience. So in panic mode, just to fill the room, organizers at the last minute started forfeiting fees and/or asking friends and relatives to show up to fill some chairs.

Actually, …

What organizers sometimes forget is that it’s not the size that matters. Bigger is not better, if the addition is irrelevant. On a side note, conference guests actually sit more comfortably and breathe a lot easier if the room is not cramped. If you host a dinner party at home, you make sure your guests are comfortable and are able to move. So half empty is not half bad.

So…

Use your marketing and communication experts to remain consistent, persistent and agile. Select your theme and make it relevant and timely. Partly, it’s something you can buy. Tools such as email marketing automation can help you build an engagement ladder that starts with alerting your audience to what is coming, and continues to add teasers and more content to finally compel them to not just sign up – but to be there on the day.

Oslo

Next time you plan a conference, make sure to plan with the end in mind:

On the day you want a room with an audience that is pleased with what they came for and therefore open to engage with you and your speakers and sponsors.

Because that is the real ROI of  your event.

A diary of #anywhereization – working on the iPad with Salesforce1 and various office tools

It wasn’t planned, but necessity made it happen: stuck in extremely busy times working entirely off the iPad (and a mini at that). So what’s all this about mobility, on any device anytime, anywhere? Can we be productive?

Short answer: yes.

Slightly longer answer: read my notes below to understand what worked, how it worked, and what didn’t (at least for me).

By the way, I am sure if I had had the bandwidth to search for solutions/apps when I encountered challenges, it could have been solved. But I didn’t. Simply too busy. So I invented new ways of getting things done.

Day 1

My plan was to stop carrying my laptop when travelling on short business flights for meetings – the iPad mini fits into the handbag and does not even have to come out when passing through security, as it is seen by the scanner as a mobile telephone. So I downloaded Office-To-Go from Nexscience and created my first document during a flight which I could later email to myself, edit and forward/send to the people I wanted to email. Creating a straight forward text was easy and intuitive and it did not reformat when moved between applications.

Getting back to the office,  my laptop – died. No time wasted, turned to Chatter on the Salesforce1 platform on my iPad to update my co-workers on the project in the appropriate Chatter group. It saved me having to write meeting notes! In fact, I could share more information more directly – because you get lazy when you have to type it all on the small iPad mini keyboard. Within 20 minutes, all the details discussed in the meeting were shared with those co-workers working on the project who would then be alerted to them in their Chatter feed.

  • Less is more – direct messages in a collaboration tool gets the information directly to your co-worker who does not have to open yet another document and read through a lot of prose. And can respond right there in the same  feed for everyone else to see. No “reply-all” –  it’s a need-to-know only solution
  • Productivity indicator – saved 30 minutes – no need to organise your notes to  write a structured report. And immediate sharing, instead of another dreaded set of meeting notes lying around that need to be written “when you have a moment”.
Running your business from an iPad

Running your business from an iPad

And then I logged a ticket with our IT hotline – also in Chatter – to get help fixing the laptop. Obviously, as I could not log it from the laptop. Duh… Considering I work offsite (#anywhereization) and it being a hardware issue, I braced myself to be stuck with the iPad for at least another day.

Day 2

Opening emails as the first thing you do makes little sense if most of the interaction you have is in the Chatter feed – including just getting an overview of what happened overnight in a global company that never sleeps.

Working on the iPad mini means you can work everywhere, so why not right there with coffee and a toast without even getting up – and it is not nearly as uncomfortably hot as a laptop on your knees. Who hasn’t had a “laptop-burn” on their thigh at some point – or fried a battery charger under the covers.

  • You end up working in the most awkward positions.
  • Productivity indicator  – Down at least 60 minutes, as I should have been up and in the office instead.

In preparation of a new project briefing to be kicked off in a conference call later that day, I had planned to create a fabulous Powerpoint slide deck with nice images, amazing graphics and charts. But that was not an option with just your index finger and an iPad mini screen size. So I opened Keynote which I knew was a cool app. But since I am not a Mac-User (yes, my laptop is in fact a PC) I never checked it out. Now was the time. It took some trial and error, and I never figured out how to import the cool graphics and charts and nice images. But all the information needed for the briefing suddenly fit into 5 slides – just text and itemized lists and links to other sources of information. No fancy stuff that is nice to look at but not really carrying any information.

  • Keeping it simple also gets the information out.
  • Productivity Indicator – Saved 60 minutes of searching for the perfect graphic, the perfect photograph, creating the perfect pie chart and reformatting into the perfect colour scheme.

But what about the conference call? We mostly use GoToMeeting so that was a fast and free option to download to the iPad and then log into my existing userID. But I never figured out how to schedule a meeting for later, so had to open one in meet now and then let it beep in my ear until the meeting started 20 mins later. I experimented to be sure it all worked once the co-workers were joining to save everyone the frustration of a failed conference call, but it meant I had to live with the beep. Honestly, folks at GoToMeeting, could you not give us some music, instead? The beep eats my brain cells. I had sent everyone on the call my fantastic Keynote presentation with only 5 slides for them to read, which was greatly appreciated – so it all started off on a really nice note and we had the most agreeable session where everyone agreed, and we agreed on who should make it happen:  me – but that’s another blog, I fear.

  • Learn how to SCHEDULE a GoToMeeting on the iPad as soon as you can to avoid the beep.
  • Productivity Indicator – saved 30 minutes, as everyone had the clear, short itemized briefing and we did not share any slides on the call to go through in presentation mode where everyone wants to comment (at least in Sweden) and knocks you off track. No questions asked = agreement was quicker and based on the facts only.

Day 3

Laptop fixed, off into the office to plug it into the docking station…. and it died again. Motherboard fried. Back to the iPad. My eyes were swimming – also because the iPad mini screen is so small that it is really tiresome to work for 8 hours squinting like that.

By now, I found myself checking Salesforce1 notifications continuously rather than checking emails – it is just quicker to get the issue/request sorted within the app, so that any links to information that is already part of Salesforce is there without having to copy/paste it into an email. As a matter of fact, I find copy/paste very difficult to execute on the iPad – maybe my fingers are not the right size.

All is not well  when you really need to get your head down to business, though. When a process is not designed intuitively for the mobile interface, some things just cannot be done. Such as updating Google Docs. Painfully, I realised that I had to start writing apologetic Chatter posts to my co-workers that dealt with the more logistical aspects of our ongoing projects – you know, budgets and stuff. The beauty is, that the apology posted on one co-worker’s Chatter feed actually resulted in two others reading this post and offering to help with completing all the steps that I cannot currently take care of from the iPad. So – in fact – I did not ask for help, but help was offered. And saved me the humiliation of casting the towel and delaying the process impacting everyone in the chain of events. Running complicated projects on a tight timeline requires a well oiled machine where every link is the strongest link. And I am the weakest  link when unable to complete my own tasks.

  • Until all business processes are intuitive and integrated in  the mobile interface – not just VIEW but also CREATION, you need friends when stuck on the iPad.
  • ProductivityIndicator –  Lost at least one full day in the progress of the project. Not a good thing.

Day 4

Waiting for my replacement laptop got me another day on the experiment – and made me realise that a big screen is probably a better choice when I need to write more than just a few brief messages. So I ended up working in a hybrid – and perhaps a little less smart – but hey, it worked.

You just need a bigger screen, sometimes

You just need a bigger screen, sometimes

My private laptop is big – really big. I use it for playing computer games. You need a big screen to find all those monsters in the dark. Today, I created long documents (including this blog) on this fantastic device with a proper keyboard and ergonomic mouse – and emailed them to my company email to process on the iPad either as another email now going where it was supposed to go, or as a briefing/post in Chatter. It’s backwards, but at least my eyes are not swimming. And easier to make sure there are no typos – or unintentional bloopers – in the information that I share.

  • You are physically challenged if you work intensively and long hours on an iPad – need more meetings or other  non-computerrelated activities to break the spell
  • ProductivityIndicator  – Minus 50% productivity on the day, having to send documents back and forth between devices and formats requiring reformating/editing.

Looking forward to my laptop tomorrow, you are still my best friend. But iPad Mini – you saved me and will always remain close to my heart. Or in my handbag.

Please excuse any typos – as this was proof read on an iPad Mini.

The ROI of Social Media – or how to convince your boss

Social Media is engagement – if you don’t get it yet, I hope you will very soon. But engagement is very hard to measure, so even if you do get it, your boss might not appreciate the value of your efforts.

That is why you need to create a social media engagement strategy around metrics and value add = ROI. You need to have a conversation.

The traditional way of counting is through “fluffy” things like Facebook Fans/Likes or number of retweets – which I think is just a natural extension of marketing’s best friend: click-through rate on email blasts. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone, even if you are an innovative marketer who really wants to embrace social.

What does it cost you, if you do NOT have a social media engagement strategy?  Here is a link to a free eBook with some good statistics and methods.

At Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC)) on Tjärö island in August, we tried to look at ROI benefits versus costs. What it boils down to, is tangible, measurable and very convincing:

Source: Salesforce.com

Email marketing on its own is not engagement. And it’s getting harder and harder to use on a large scale.  Let’s talk instead.

Soft and Hard: Facts & Figures

Finally, here is a link to all the slides I presented at SSWC – there are some wonderful charts and hard numbers from salesforce.com’s extensive customer research. You can use them in your own context. Or  take them to your superiors to get at least as much – if not more – budget for your social media engagement as your colleagues in traditional email marketing.

Cut through the noise

There are simply far too many emails in the world – you do not want to add to the noise. And with Google’s new Gmail interface with a tab entirely devoted to sale updates and coupons, where all emails which includes an unsubscribe link get lumped together, it gets even tougher for email marketers to get through.  So here are 9 great tips on how to create a successful email campaign. First, 25 mind blowing stats about email marketing:

Email marketing is cost-effective and the results are easy to track. But it needs to be part of a holistic marketing strategy to generate great ROI. Shouting is not enough.

  1. Create target lists – Segment your audience into target groups by creating lists. Use such as location, company, industry or size, job titles, past purchases and demographic information.
  2. Personalize your content – Tailor your message and content to appeal to each audience by using short, personalized messages with industry-specific key words to speak to the audience in their own language. You can also include a call to action by providing a link to an article, whitepaper or something else valuable for the receiver. Try to experiment with both rich text HTML and plain text formats to see which gets the best response.
  3. Don’t forget the subject line – Because it is vital! A survey from Salesforce shows that the open rate increases with 58 % if the subject has fewer than 10 characters, so try to nail a perfect line and this will help out a lot.
  4. Alert sales – Be sure to alert sales when you execute a campaign so they’re ready to respond quickly to the resulting leads.
  5. Integrate with your web – By using Web-to-lead forms you can capture prospect information from visitors to your site. And check out the marketing automation apps on the AppExchange to find other ways to shorten the time between an inquiry and response.
  6. Develop a social media strategy – To increase your visibility and establish yourself as a trusted advisor and expert, develop a social media strategy on how to be present in different social media channels. In my next post I will give you some more detailed tips on how to use social media tools for business and how to build a successful strategy.
  7. Don’t spam – Respect you prospects and don’t spam them with emails, it’s important to give them the information and content they are interested in. Your goal is to have a conversation over time and to build a relationship between the prospect and your company and spamming includes neither one of them.
  8. Track results – Measure how users respond to keep refining your tactics. Think about what you want to measure and then identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track.
  9. Nurture campaigns – Lead nurturing can have a dramatic effect on your sales pipeline so it’s important to alert your reps to follow up on leads being nurtured. You can for example use lead scoring as you can read more about here in my earlier post.

Get the right look

If you want to reinforce the look and feel of your emails and ensure your messaging always is consistent, try using an email template. At Salesforce.com you can find templates for text, HTML with letterhead, custom HTML and Force.com pages (Visualforce). This is not only great for the marketing department, it is also a great tool for your reps so that sales and marketing can speak with one voice. And it saves them time – time to spend on more selling. With Salesforce templates there’s also a built-in dynamic tracking feature so you can track which emails were opened, how many times and when each recipient last opened the email.

Remember to keep your templates up to date and easily accessible. For more detailed instructions on how to create your own email template, go to Help & Training. And if you need inspiration and want to see some great examples of email marketing, you should read this report from MarketingSherpa where they announced the winners of email marketing 2012.

 

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