Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’


I’m publishing this post from inside the all-day Executive Management Session at the DAIAB Conference at Rehoboth Beach, DE. The session lays out like this:

Morning – Baseline understanding on Social Technologies

  • 90 minutes: What it means and how to leverage it
  • 90 minutes: Web sites, Blogs and Twitter

Afternoon – Tactical How-to’s on Primary Business Social Tech

  • Measuring Results
  • Linkedin
  • Facebook
  • FourSquare
  • Mobile
  • Viral Media and Video

Bonus, time-permitting: RSS, Alerts, Analytics

This group is focused on the Property & Casualty side of the insurance space. The Association members are regional and local agencies selling both commercial and personal lines products. Several niche insurance companies provide the products. And of course several business partners support the environment with various business operation and marketing services. Good people working hard to provide valuable risk-management services to the business community. An example: insurance products specifically designed for the coastal environment – flood, hurricane, that kind of thing. Always fun meeting new people, learning about new applications and products, and seeing how Social fits in.


A few learnings to share from a recent all-day Social Media Marketing strategy session with an insurance company and two pilot participants:

  1. Doing a Social Media Marketing pilot is always a great way to “test before you INvest”.
  2. Extremely helpful on several levels for the insurance company marketing folks to invite the compliance folks into the session. Why? That’s a subject for another post.
  3. Insurance marketing partners are chomping at the bit to start using Social.
  4. Our “Ideation Session” turned up several really solid Social Media Marketing opportunities to chose from.
  5. Good decision for the company to use marketing dollars already in the budget to fund the pilot. Takes the issue of money right off the table. Pretty small investment in the grand scheme of things.
  6. A lot of the technologies needed for the pilots are already in place and can be reused, for example on Facebook pages, with minor variations.
  7. Many others but confidentiality prevails.


Next week: Another all-day Social Media Marketing strategy session with a large insurance agency.


I’m also attending Scott Klososky’s Social Tech Bootcamp in Chicago. Can’t wait to see all the new Social Tech stuff he’s been working on.

Btw, if you’d like to collaborate on a Social Tech Bootcamp for your company or for your clients or prospects, reach out to me. I can guarantee it to be an extremely effective use of time any way you skin it.

A few recent pics:

Sunrise at the Gifford Pinchot State Park after visiting Gettysburg

A coiled-up Delaware Black Snake glaring back from the marsh

My golfing partner grabbed the thing – amazing to see.

Coming right at the camera! Yikes!


“I’m Mike Wise, President WebWisedom. I’m helping insurance companies and agencies with e-commerce and Social Technologies. I’m also working on a viral video of the conference. I’m wearing a safari hat because I’m looking for insurance creatures in their native, natural habitats! (chuckle) So I’ll be at the bar and on the golf course!!! (laughter)”

Thus went my 30-second introduction at the kick-off of ICMG 2011 at Doral two weeks ago. The people I subsequently met appreciated the attempt at humor. To my surprise, they were also more than happy to share with me sound bites that included their take-away from the meeting as well as what their favorite wild animal is – and what kind of noise it makes!!! The video is in review by the Board at this point. I think it’s hilarious. Look for something shortly, possibly even today.

My take-away? ICMG gets better every year. This year set a record for registrations and tied a record for on-site attendees. “Snow-pocalypse” in the Midwest cost about 30 people, but there were about 40 walk-ups as well. On a bizdev level for WebWisedom, I’m encouraged that the group is moving towards more and better e-commerce efforts. Social Technologies, Social Media Marketing, and Social Networking is starting to become more commonplace in their language. So good things.

What seemed very worrisome to the group (based on informal conversations) is the whole PPACA debacle and its adverse impact on the brokerage community, not to mention the carriers. Obamacare seems to be causing serious issues in the health insurance industry – loss of commissions, increased risk, lower profitability, fewer people covered. It seems to be getting clearer all the time that the way the legislation is crafted, the actual impacts are turning out to be the exact opposite of the intended impacts: fewer people will be covered, higher costs on premiums and care, and decreased quality of care. At the same time, other legislation, new federal government programs, and actions by the Treasury seem to wrecking an already weakened US economy. So I left the conference pleased with ICMG but once again upset with the administration and the direction of the economy in general and “health care reform” (which is really health insurance reform now).

Next on the horizon? Follow-up conversations with ICMG’ers about Socially Facilitated Selling and teaching the large blocks of agents how to leverage Social Tech in their sales efforts. Whether independent agents, career, or captives, the agents in the field are dealing with an increasingly savvy constituent with meaningful, powerful, and growing Social Networks.

In fact, 3 out of 4 American use Social Networks. And 85% of Social Network users expect to interact with their brands and service providers via Social Networks and Social Media.

So the obvious question for the ICMG folks is, “What is your strategy for dealing with this situation? And is it working for you? Is it driving sales?” If not, that’s where I come in.

I’m hoping to spread the word among the group that I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about Socially Facilitated Selling and crafting effective ways to communicate the concepts of Socially Facilitated Selling to insurance executives, managers, and train feet-on-the-street sales guys.

Mobile seems to be a critically important aspect of Social Tech, not only for content distribution, but also for access to information, Social updates and Sharing, signing up for stuff, of course dreaded email, but also app’s like calendars, navigation, search local businesses, photo’s and video, etc. My one recommendation is for sales people to seriously UPGRADE their mobile technologies. In order to play in the Social space, like anything else, you have to have the tools and equipment, n’est ce pas?

What comments do you have? Were you at ICMG? Whajathink? What about insurance agents and Social? I heard a few concerns at ICMG. What are yours? Share in the Comments below and see if we can leverage the crowd of readers to learn and grow relative to insurance agents and sales within the Social era. Thanks in advance for the Comments. I’ll pipe in as well. And thanks again to all who participated in a great ICMG 2011. Solid effort.


Running in between PIMA and ICMG with tons of follow-up from the former while getting organized for the latter. Geesh! All the while, Cleveland and the Midwest is getting pummeled by “snow-pocalypse”.

Future note to keep me accountable: At the closing session, I asked several attendees the question, “What is the one thing you would say to someone who wasn’t here regarding all the innovation content we heard?” And then, “What is the one BIG barrier to innovation that we must overcome?” Really looking forward to sharing the content with you.. very interesting mosaic of comments. Look for that next week.

In the meantime, a few thoughts collected real-time. Curious for reader comments. Btw, if you are serious about Social Technologies, especially as they relate to Innovation, Mobile, Viral Marketing, e-Word-of-Mouth, etc., I’m meeting with a few clients at the Scott Klososky Enterprise Social Tech Bootcamp in Dallas in early March. I’ve got one open spot left.

Seismic changes in this age of the consumer, disruptive technologies….

“Innovation is a necessity.”

Unknown and unarticulated needs

Culture of failure is important

No such thing as B2B anymore – just the relative distance from the consumer.

…the things that didn’t work… “We lucked into innovation…”

“Big Slow Staid Bureaucratic”
good descriptive of our industry

“All the innovation is already there; you just have to unleash it.”

Mobile is changing everything – right in our customers hands

recognize failure “a lot” – words of encouragement

Lessons Learned
#1 Solve for Ideas
Innovation process… THEN product development process
#2 Unpeel you Onion – innovation is already there…

“disruptive innovation: product or utility that does less and cost less”

Huffington – embrace the new economy, embrace the link economy

Extreme Affinity – LA City Employees Association – referral from American General

“Insurance wasn’t enough”

Captivating and compelling use of innovation. Gobs and gobs of take-aways…


PIMA hashtag search

Next Meeting – The Broadmoor

Meantime – Brand project, continuing the discussion on Linkedin, lots of client engagements, Innovation

What was your take-away from the conference? Good for you? What about some of these concepts? If you weren’t there, feel free to ask questions. Perhaps the reader crowd can bring clarity. Please Comment below. Thanks in advance.


So it’s been snowing off and on here for three days!!! Geez. But there’s LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL – Miami in 12 days… for 9 days. PIMA and ICMG. First PIMA…

[Twitter Hash-tag for PIMA: #PIMAAssn (more on Twitter at the end of the story)]

The 2011 PIMA Annual Meeting will be in full swing two weeks from today. At 200 registrations and climbing, and with content focused on “Innovation”, it’s shaping up to be a bang-up conference. Greatly looking forward to attending, taking pictures, engaging in thought-provoking discussions, podcasting with a very sharp new member and savvy guests on innovation, and having fun with people a lot smarter than me in this business.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be asked a few recurring questions.

  • “How’s it going with the new business?” and
  • “What’s new in e-Commerce and Social as it relates to our business model?”

…or something along those lines. I have some really good answers to both.

But I’m equally sure I will also hear a few recurring statements.

  1. “I don’t have time for all that.”
  2. “Compliance just won’t let us do blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.”
  3. “I’ve been very successful with Direct Marketing…I don’t need all the Social stuff…”

…or something along those lines.

Totally understand and resonate. Let me collect a few thoughts and ask for your comments…

On “No Time”

Social Media Marketing, building a Social-based river of information, actively engaging your constituents, and paying attention to ‘listenting’ programs definitely takes time and resources. No doubt about it. As an example, this blog post took me from 9-1030am this morning from start to finish.

A little about what I do…

  1. A weekly appointment with myself to write a new Blog post.
  2. Open Tweetdeck several times a day looking at my stream or running keyword searches.
  3. Check in on Facebook a few times a day and have top priority network updates coming to Gmail and the Droid.
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day on Linkedin keeping my status fresh and looking for places to add value in conversations.

It does take time.

But on the flip side, I am NOT doing things that used to take up that time. Looking back over last year, I would characterize several big items:

  1. seemingly important but often meaningless conversations with co-workers (I’m sorry, don’t mean to offend, and I enjoyed them and saw value, but nonetheless, a bit of a waste of time, usually in 15-20 min chunks),
  2. inefficient meetings (easily consuming 15-20 min’s of waste each),
  3. paper shuffling (ugh),
  4. and a big one – watching TV at night, especially sports (we gave it up as a family – we’re talkin’ HOURS a week there).

Net net, diving in and making room for Social in my schedule has actually freed up AT LEAST an equal amount of time that it has consumed.

How about you? If you’ve done a similar process, has this been your experience?

If you’ve haven’t done this process, do you see opportunities with your time where you could make similar changes?

Please share a comment.

On the Compliance side, totally get that. Here’s the good news. Last year I collaborated on a strategic project with a leading insurance company in the insurance affinity space. Long story short, they hired me to research industry and company guidance relative to Social Media and Compliance. Once we had all the facts in a nicely organized document, we then took a half day and talked through the ‘real deal’ wrt Social and the insurance industry and more specifically the affinity distribution model. At the end of the day (literally), compliance was VERY pleased with the report, the discussion, and, perhaps most importantly, the approach. (I give great Kudo’s to the affinity marketing veteran who led the effort – a STUDY in professionalism on several levels.) We’re now moving beyond that into the strategy phase – in collaboration with a much smarter compliance department.

Is Compliance still an issue for you? What questions do you have?

Comment below or let’s talk at PIMA…

To the statement about past success, it’s totally legit. Absolutely. I still don’t have a good answer… at least one that doesn’t come off as a scare tactic or offensive. I have a lot of answers, but they typically aren’t successful in helping someone in this mode understand their need for Social and/or to get started. But invariably when I hear this statement, the first company that comes to mind is Blockbuster and the whole Netflix/Redbox situation, since I see the remnant of a Blockbuster store near my house quite often.

At one point, Blockbuster was extremely successful. But now they are… well, let’s just say they have fallen. Why? Of course there are a lot of reasons (click on this Google search called blockbuster case study 2010). But no doubt (and if anyone has a true story to share, please do), at some point in the early days of Netflix, there were conversations at Blockbuster about Netflix as a threat, the whole streaming video business model idea, the potential impact on consumer behaviors, and so forth. What was the response at that moment by the leadership team?

Am I out in left field, or would it be safe to say that Blockbuster did not adapt, perhaps at the very point that they were REALLY successful, at a point where the executives might have said,

“Why change? Our business model has made us VERY successful?”

What do you think? Do you see a connection with the insurance affinity exec that says,

“Why do Social Media Marketing? I’ve been very successful with Direct Marketing.”

What’s your take on all this. Whether you are going to PIMA or not, do you have anything to share that we can all learn from? I, for one, am all ears.. and I’m confident many of the follow-on readers will be as well. Please Comment below. Thanks a gazillion in advance. (Btw, if you do Comment, click the button that subscribes you to the subsequent comments so you can stay posted on the thread.)


More on Twitter:

Hashtags? YouTube video on it

How Twitter and Hashtags help enrich conferences. Great stuff on this Google Search.

Not sure about Twitter?  Link to Twitter Handbook… excellent Resource.


Oh yeah, PS. Akron Men’s Soccer set yet another record!!! In the MLS SuperDraft, 5 OF THE TOP 10 DRAFTEES were from Akron!!! Holy Cow! Read the story here.


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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