Archive for December, 2010


Thanks to Insurance Journal, Rick Morgan, and Peter van Aartrijk. Really appreciate the conversation. Some good references to companies that are doing good work with Social Tech, especially in light of the current thread we are chewing on regarding Exec’s and Social.

Investigate Shoutlet.  You’ll be glad you did.


A few recent tweets in case you missed them (btw, my recent tweets are always on the right side of the blog home-page if you’re not on Twitter – yet.)

55 Interesting Social Media Infographics – excellent insights – fantastic educational material

Gr8 resources #Healthcare Trends, #PPACA calendar & sentiment, #Medicare #marketing, #Social & more – from Lindsay Resnick- nice work.

Tic Toc: #Social #Sales Train Has Left the Station… couldn’t agree more. comments from fellow sales guys? – good blog to follow

RT @SkipAnderson If you’re a salesperson who isn’t blogging yet, read this now and then go start: (via @jerrykennedy) – been sayin’ this for a while – nice to hear another voice on the subject.


Note to self: Extremely rare event, perhaps once in a life-time. I’m writing this post from 30,000′, rockin’ the MacBook on a free Airtran WiFi connection on my way to L.A. (UCSB) to shoot the NCAA D1 College Cup Men’s Soccer Final between my boys from #3 Akron and #1 Louisville. (Pictures will be here.) Clock says 2:10am, slept a little, eyes are stinging, have the earplugs in, silence except for the white-noise of the air at 300mph, smooth, dark, and quiet. Get to LAX at 3:30am EDT.

Btw, before I forget, a tip to bloggers and commenters: Remember to subscribe to the Comment email feed if you post a Comment. It’s good form, and a little bit of security and good Online Reputation Management, to see what other people post to a thread on top of yours.  I only say this because I asked a few of the commenters from last week’s post if they had seen all the subsequent comments to theirs and they had not because they didn’t see the subscription button at the bottom of the Comment form.  (Probably another reason I’m going to change from IntenseDebate as my comment tool, although they did respond nicely to my request for help this week.)

Last week’s thread about Exec’s and Social was quite simply amazing.  As I had hoped, some of the people I’m connected to via Social Media, people a LOT smarter than me, took the time to add some brilliant insights.  Seriously.  I don’t think I’m overstating things. As I alluded to in the original post, the next step is to figure out some ideas on what to do to fix the problem.  I’ve got some ideas, but again, I’m interested in others.

My favorite extracts, especially considering the sources. (I appreciate ALL, but just to narrow the focus.)

Mike, Charles, and Chris started the discussion well: Social is a lot to bite off for Exec’s, requires change, and threatens control.

John Heaney, former Corp Exec now consulting on Social, spoke of a misunderstanding about what Social is, who uses it, and essentially, and the need for Case Studies. Legit.

Barb Giamanco (a great Follow on Twitter and RSS, btw) add the insight about Social blocking and the need for training, but then dropped the first bomb of the thread: “They are stubbornly refusing to accept that control is a complete illusion. Their customers and potential buyers are now in control of the brand.” Is this true? Yep. As mind-blowing as that is, the constituents wield considerable power with UGC (User Generated Content).  United Breaks Guitars is a great example. Spot-on, Barb.  Thanks for the bomb.

Jim Gallagher’s add: Do exec’s need to do Social well for their companies to do Social well? Could it be that they fear transparency as it might reveal personal ‘issues’?  And it might be hard to determine the ‘done well’ part.  Yep.

Matt Shields, very bright guy… Passing fad or not, it’s working for people when other more traditional strategies are in a state of decline. Get in the game.


(Side note: I’m now on the return flight from the game mentioned above. THEY WON! The boys from Akron WON! An epic, once in a lifetime trip I will never forget.)

Interesting that the next commenter I’m going to curate is Bill Tyson.  I spent the night last night with Bill and his terrific family.  What a balm to my soul! Bill cooked up some terrific ‘Tri-tip” beef and a fantastic salad – awesome.  Great conversation as you might expect.  Bill’s Blog.  So glad I have Social to stay connected and foster that kind of relationship and meet-up.)  Bill’s comment about the burden of email is correct. Interesting note: Since I started using Social, I use email less.  And I’ve heard that from others.  But the solution there is an easy one, don’t you think?  And the Betty White remark is correct as well.  Executives are foolish to make decisions about Social based on incomplete, inaccurate, or biased information – just like anything else.  Check your sources – or better yet, develop your own USING Social.

Bob Leonard, who I met via a Linkedin Group and who is a great resource for B2B Content, raises the point about money, one that will come up again.

John Pogas, as brilliant as ever, makes one of my favorite observations. It’s the economy stupid.  It’s holding back enterprise innovation (along with a whole lot of other stuff).  Here’s a savvy insurance marketer that is recommending investing heavily in Social – and mobile. Yup.

Terry Lawrence, a deep, eclectic thinker you’ll want to listen to, and an executive himself, asked how many of the commenters were C-level.  A quick count indicates over half are Senior folks.  Most of the rest are former corporate exec’s who are now doing their own thing.  There are ton’s of case studies out there about Social ROI.  Google and Twitter searches  Good point about fact-finding and allocating resources.  Absolutely.


Finally able to catch my breath after a whirlwind few days. Wow!

Patrick Clark netted it out as well.  It’s about risk and taking chances.  Although I will say, if exec’s do their research as Patrick suggests, they will see that they are actually putting their companies at INCREASED risk by NOT engaging in Social, not only from a declining sales and increasing costs standpoint, but from an Online Reputation Management perspective.

Mike McCarthy, so true, first-movers are definitely going to get an advantage.  As always, nobody really respects a me-too.  If competitors do something amazingly successful with Social, the rest of the pack will be saying, “Crap, why didn’t we think of that?!?!” Need an example?  Ask the Exec’s at Blockbuster if a staff member mentioned 2-3 years ago that they should do an online instant-view service similar to Netflix.

Dan Herrmann, good for you.  I see that you are building a powerful River of Information on the topic, as well as getting some results from your Linkedin efforts.

Chuck, aboslutely spot-on about the concept of technology.  It’s CERTAINLY not an IT thing. Def.  And I laughed out loud at your comment about negative comments.  Yep, Social has to “part of” the strategy, not THE strategy.

Scott added good historical perspective. Social is simply the latest advance in business technology, communication, etc. Leaders need to wake up. Get in the game. As I’ve said many times on this blog, the music’s playing right now. Don’t be the last one standing when the music stops.

Mona, good idea to meet with staffers who are savvier. Cameron Herold seems to be a savvy exec, younger though.  Hmmm…

Bob Etherington has a good reminder for ALL of us.  We certainly live in a “Me” era and blog’s have exacerbated our collective condition.  I’m certainly guilty of that as well.  It’s a delicate dance.  On the one hand, people are curious about people and want to know, as Paul Harvey made famous, “The REST of the Story.”  On the other extreme, narcissism is clearly not acceptable. All the more opportunity to stand out by doing it right.  Perhaps this post is a good example of how to do it right and engage the audience?

Rick Morgan, the Gandalf-the-Grey of the insurance biz, of course without the beard and long hair, but with huge wisdom based on years of experience in the insurance biz, adds an absolutely critical point about the ‘shift from Outbound “interruption” marketing to Inbound “permission” based marketing’. CRITICALLY important concept to come to terms with for anyone in marketing and sales, IMHO.

Good question by Kevin Gregory. Is Social a discovery tool to find entrepreneurs?  What do you think?

Great take from across the pond by Mairi Mallon, who is by the way another great follow on Linkedin and Twitter and manages an active insurance marketing group on Linkedin.  Baby steps are key.  Slow and steady wins the race. Yup.  Margaret Atwood on Twitter – 100,000 followers, 3,000 tweets, Following 123, interactive.  How’d you like to be followed by Margaret Atwood!! Bill Marriott’s blog. Blogging since January 2007, lot of Comments on posts, pretty classic CEO blog. Nice. Simple but right.

Solid take by Pete van Aartrijk, although he missed an opportunity to hyperlink to  Really want to encourage readers to participate in the 3rd Annual Aartrijk Brand Camp next year.  One of the most useful conferences in the insurance marketing business.

Jenny Johnson adds a fantastic point about ROI.  It’s different for everyone.  Again, going back to Chuck’s point, what is the over-all goal of the enterprise and how can Social help accomplish that goal?  Check out Shoutlet.  I’ve seen the demo.  Comparing with other Social Tech tools, it’s incredibly strong and surprisingly affordable.

Now Kristin Brewe is the creator of Erin Esurance, one of the most successful Meme’s in insurance marketing history, so you’ve GOT to pay attention to what she says.  I’m humbled to even have a comment from Kristin, now consulting across the pond after a year traveling around the world post-Esurance. A few sound bites:

  • “brand control is illusory”
  • “fear of exposing aspects of your organization that you know are problematic”
  • “training and a robustly detailed media policy are probably the best approach”
  • “being meaningfully active in social media is time-consuming”
  • “actually working and building the company’s reputation and not just having fun”

Great points.  The question then becomes, “How???”  How did you convince White Mountain way back when in the early days of Erin Esurance???

Not to slight Dave, Pat, Tom, Mark, Craig, and Steve, but for the sake of time, I’ll fast forward to Doug Kreitzberg, CEO of USI Affinity.  Doug focuses on Pull versus Push Marketing, a similar comment to Rick Morgan’s.  And yet again, what’s the ROI.  Exec’s want to know the ROI.

So the key question now is, What’s the pattern here, and what do we DO about it?  I’m a problem-solver by nature.  What to DO?  How can we move the needle and get exec’s involved?  Let’s think about it over the holiday’s.  I’ll come back this time next week – crap, day before Christmas Eve.  Meantime, please Comment… and remember to Subscribe to the Comments email feed right under the Comment form.

Thanks everyone.  Merry Christmas.  Do you know him?


I’m looking for comments from readers on this topic?

Why is Social Media, Social Networking, Social Relevancy – heck, all of Social Technologies – so “HARD”?  I guess I’d further refine that question and point the discussion at the C-Level or the senior management of the enterprise.  I know there are exceptions, but IN GENERAL, why is senior management within business so often struggling with Social Tech???  So we don’t waste a lot of time on definitions, let me define ‘struggling’ with a few examples:

  1. Not doing ANYTHING – No blog, No Linkedin, No Twitter, No Facebook, No Crowdsourcing, No Comments, No Social CRM, No Social Sales & Marketing – just totally off the radar from a C-Level standpoint.  Just heads down doing email, making phone calls, leading/attending meetings – that’s it.
  2. Making organizational decisions that either try to suffocate Social (e.g. You can’t use Facebook or Twitter on company time – to make sure, we’ll block it on the Web servers), or decisions that don’t include Social components (e.g. This week, I saw an insurance e-commerce RFP from a large insurance company based in the northeast US that has NO MENTION of Social Media Marketing.)
  3. Or lastly, doing Social poorly – No strategy, no game plan, no Social Policy for the org, no Social Marketing Strategy for the enterprise… just sort of herky-jerky winging it?

Obviously the follow-on question will be, “Is this an issue and if so, what can be done about it?”  But before we go there, perhaps if we can chew on this a bit first, some interesting patterns will emerge that will lead us to solutions based on more information than otherwise.

Suggestion: Before you read the Comments below, pause and get clarity on your first thought or two.  Then read the other Comments.  If you have similar thoughts, please say so, as that will be important as well.  I REALLY WANT TO KNOW.  And so do other readers, by the way.  Links would be great.

Please be candid.  If you need to be anonymous, do it.  Straight to the heart of the matter.  Speak.  Lurking is Lame.

Thanks in advance.


Favorite pics from Thanksgiving – love the laughter :-) Click the pic to see the rest.

Johnny Kimani, my son’s Kenyan roommate from college & Catchphrase

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