Archive for September, 2008

24th

News: An impact of the economic crisis – The AM Best EFusion Conference has been moved to a virtual platform, which means a series of Webinars. The plan is to use Wednesdays in October and November to handle the Finalist presentations (some really good stuff as usual) as well as the presentations by the speakers. I’m scheduled for Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. Eastern time for my piece on…

Is the Web Out of Control?: Social networking, instant communications, blogging:

They’re all important but huge threats to corporate security and consistent delivery of strategy. Managed poorly, these technologies can become strains on productivity.

Hear how companies use communication technology to their advantage and reach customers they might never have otherwise.

In association with Charles Wasilewski, The van Aartrijk Group

This will be good. I’d prefer the in-person format, but I’m a people-person, so that’s me! But in reality, more people will be able to participate this way, so that’s the main thing – education. Really encourage you to attend these events – cutting-edge stuff.

Next: Last month, had the pleasure of spending some time with Sara Holoubek, Consultant and Aspiring Luminary, in NYC for a cup of coffee at Taralucci’s off Union Square. Sara will be moderating the opening panel discussion at PIMA’s MarkeTTech Symposium on the how to engage with the social Web in an era of “Pull Marketing”. Can’t wait. In the picture below, notice the brown paper placemat under her coffee cup? By the end of the hour, it was covered with great wisdom. I grabbed it as an artifact for my office, autograph and all. If only I could make sense of it now?!?!

(Click on the picture to see more pics from my time in NYC, as well as Philly before that.)

Photo by Frits Abell, Progress Partners

Photo by Frits Abell, Progress Partners – Perfect shot!

Matrix White Paper: I finished the Matrix-driven Web site White Paper if anyone is interested in a deeper dive into the insurance technology underlying ftj.com. Thanks to Jaimie Polak, Mary Fisher, and Kendra McComb. Great stuff and perhaps the next generation of Affinity Sites. Working on another one right now and have three other potential projects in budget review.

Budgets: Tis the season, right? Here’s my plug for shifting dollars from traditional marketing to Web marketing. Here’s the thing: Everyone knows the economy stinks right now. Costs are high – gas, food, energy, travel. It’s like this tornado that’s spinning everything upward and out of control. And we also know that everyone is using the Web in some form or fashion. And we’re all starting to do more and more things on our own with the assistance (or not) of Web-based tools and information. So I might be out in left field on this, but doesn’t it make sense to do more stuff online? As an insurance company or marketer, DON’T RUN AROUND YOUR OFFICE WITH YOUR FINGERS IN YOUR EARS SHOUTING, “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!!! I can’t hear YOU!” Just get in the game. Start doing stuff. Do a Blog, a team Blog, start a community, start a wiki, do a series of Webinars – IF NOTHING ELSE, DO IT INTERNAL. The best way to understand something is to DO IT. Once again, I’ll push Groundswell – great primary on the immediate next steps you might consider for your Web presence. Of course, IdeaStar is not the be-all-end-all of this kind of insurance technology and Web marketing tools and techniques, but it’s probably a pretty good bet that we are miles ahead of IT departments and a much safer guide through the maze. Let me know if I can help.

13th

Perhaps because I mention it a lot, several folks have asked me to comment on Linkedin. Why is it important? How do I use it? What’s all the fuss? First of all, here’s a link to my Linkedin profile. If you’re not familiar, perhaps click through and click around a bit, then come back.

View Mike Wise's profile on LinkedIn

I know I linked to the Linkedin Blog last week, but the current story is so perfect, I’m doing it again. (By the way, for those of you still on the sidelines of blogging (and I know who you are ;-)), you gotta appreciate what’s going on relative to blogging here as well. Notice my comment at the bottom of the story.)

Check it out.

How do I use it? First of all, when I started, my goal was to get to 100 connections. That was pretty easy the way Linkedin suggests connections based on your profile. Make sure you put as much detail in there as possible. It was tougher getting to 200. Getting to the mythical “500+” seems distant, but I’ll get there. Note that my philosophy is to have quality connections, not just anyone. Don’t want to be a “Linkedin S lut!”

The point is to have as wide a network as possible so that when I WANT to get connected to someone I DON’T know, I have as many possible 2nd-level connections as possible to use for introductions. If I have no 2nd-level’s, I will look at the third-level’s and pick up the phone. “Hey, I’m trying to find an introduction to so-and-so and I see in Linkedin that someone you are connected with is connected with them.” It’s tougher that way, but as my network expands… And, oh by the way, I get another touch point in my own network.

I also sometimes go straight to the person. The cool thing is that profiles are maintained by the person, so they are much more likely to be current. That means that when you send them a note, you can be fairly confident it will get to them. That’s exactly how I reached out to the keynote speaker at the upcoming PIMA MarkeTTech Symposium, Kristin Brewe with Esurance. And sure enough, she 1. got the email, and 2. responded to it as coming from a trusted, albeit unfamiliar source – a minor miracle in today’s business world, n’est ce pas?

I also really appreciate the Recommendations functionality. I think it’s really cool that people can look at what other people are saying about me right in my profile – and what I am saying about other people. I also change my picture on a regular basis because it notifies my network when I do – and thus perhaps keeps me top-of-mind just by changing a profile picture.

I’ve also had people ask me if I know anyone in such-and-such geography or this-and-that industry. It seemed to be helpful to those people. After all, we never know where solutions are going to happen.

Hope this helps.

Couple pictures:

My daughter, Kelle Wise, inadvertantly started a marketing campaign for my wife’s company.

Kelle Wise, I Believe Campaign

College soccer is back underway.
Here’s my son, Zach Wise #19, at Houghton College.

5th

One of my favorite conferences of the year, A.M. Best’s E-Fusion conference, is coming up in Philadelphia in October. If you are interested in insurance e-commerce/e-business, looking to network, share, and learn new stuff, this is the place to be. No kidding, this is the conference in the insurance biz where I get a raft of new ideas. Check it out. If you’re coming, let me know. Love to connect.

I’m trying my hand at a Webinar in a couple weeks. It’s on e-applications in the financial services industry. The host is The American Financial Services Association. I was referred to them by another PIMA member, Tammy Dixon and Stephanie D’Amico with SourceLink. Sorry – it’s invitation-only. Co-facilitating with Nigel Fisher.

Next week: LinkedIn – Why it’s important. Ideas on how to use it. Some of you are asking me for my opinions, so I’ll see if i can write something intelligent! Meantime, check out the LinkedIn Blog.

Shooting Promise Keepers Cleveland this weekend. Very excited…

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