Summarizing what you’ve learned

When you’re moving fast (like is required in social media) it goes without saying that you’re learning from your mistakes as you go, right? Not necessarily. Even for people who don’t love “process” (like me) there is value in taking a few hours every year and writing down your learnings and what the implications are. The process of committing learnings to paper is not unlike the subtly transformative process of writing in a journal:  unspoken assumptions bubble to the surface and implications are questioned and openly re-analyzed.

If you’ve never taken the time to do this process before, do it now. It doesn’t have to be complicated: Make an excel doc with three columns: learning, data, and strategy implications. Keep it to no more than 5 learnings. Commit to doing this process at least once a year. Your ongoing strategies will be better for it.

If you want to be brave, get people to do something new

Make natural behaviors happen more frequently …But if you want to be smart, figure out what they do naturally and see if you can get more people to do it, or get people to do it more often.

From an operant conditioning standpoint, it’s a lot easier to train established behaviors to happen on cue, a lot harder to shape an entirely new behavior. How do I know? I used to teach a Marine Mammal Behavior and Training class at SDSU Extended Studies during my many years of working in Education at SeaWorld.

Some of the “easier” training at SeaWorld happens when trainers see the animal doing a behavior they’d like to repeat on cue. They reinforce the behavior immediately, which increases the likelihood of the behavior happening again. (Kind of like kindergarten teachers give “caught you being good” awards)

So there you go: license to be a little lazy/smart: to increase your success rate, focus your marketing efforts on doing something you know happens organically.

The End of Word of Mouth? Absurd.

This is the stuff I hate about Twitter. Because Edelman posted this story in Adage about people trusting their friends less for advice, now I have to deal with theinevitable onslaught of people tweeting about it, forwarding it, and generally jumping on the bandwagon to trumpet the end of people trusting their friends and family.

Except of course the notion that basic human nature has been overridden by social media is ridiculous. And you’ll have to come up with a whole lot better than self-reported survey results to convince me otherwise.

Real social marketing strategy

Every time I see an article about the “Top 5 Twitter strategies” I roll my eyes a little. And my stomach turns a little Why? Because it perpetuates the notion that people who “get” the notion of “social” believe that strategy=tactics. And *that* hurts my long-term mobility. And frankly, it cheapens the last 5 years of my work life.

So when I see a story about strategy that includes social media as a meaningful “how,” to achieve the stategic “what,” I feel validation and even a little excitement. The New York Times published an article like that today – and I bet it won’t be plastered all over Twitter the way those top-5 lists are.

The story in question? ‘Blind Side’ Finds a Path to the Oscars by Running Up the Middle Have you seen the movie? I did. And frankly its Oscar nominations surprised me. Which makes me wonder how this movie got to this level of acknowlegement. The answer? Great marketing strategy: fishing where the fish are. Plot spoiler: a lot of “fish” are schooling on social media these days.

The producers identified their target audience: “sports fans, families, churchgoers and do-gooders” and figured out how to bring pieces that resonate with them (real college football coaches, a country music singer, and sermon content) to the movie. (Marketing as part of the product process – sound familiar? ) Next, they figured out how to connect that content with the target audience: blogs, online/downloadable video clips, and effectively motivated their base.

Nice work, producers. I admire your strategic thinking and execution. Social pundits, take note.

TurboTax is among AdAge’s “America’s Hottest Brands”

Today TurboTax was honored among the case studies of America’s hottest brands on AdAge. Pretty exciting to see our team’s work featured so prominently in the study: from the social media side the Super Status contest, our partnership with NBC and the offline advertising team, and finally our Twitter Google network ad were featured. Our display advertising rockstar Brian Hovis’ work got major props as well. Picture 1

A creative solution in Online Advertising

It’s great to get mentioned as a cutting-edge example of creativity – it’s one of the reasons I like working on the Online Advertising Team. A new mention crossed my path today: Mike Takahashi’s blog mentioned us for the Twitter display ad we did last year. (First ever on the Google network) 

Say, I wrote that tweet he featured. Cool! 

Harnessing the Power of Organic Emotion

Dan and Chip Heath wrote a great post today about tapping into real emotion (as opposed to creating an emotion that didn't already exist related to your product) for marketing. What's the emotion naturally associated with your product? Listen religiously to what people are saying about your brand in social media you'll instinctively know. Start with free tools: Google alerts, Twitter search, Technorati. Have the results delivered via RSS feeds to your email inbox (or where-ever you do your reading each day). 

Great listeners become great strategists because they know from a consumer standpoint 1) what's worth talking about and 2) what the emotion behind the conversation is. 

Scott Cook Innovation Awards

It's been an incredible week for recognition and our team – we won a Scott Cook Innovation Award (very big deal internal award at Intuit) yesterday for our partnership with David Kirven's team to marry our offline and online advertising/social efforts last year. For those who have never worked at a large company, it may seem like it should be easy to marry up all your strategies so they march in unison but it actually takes a bit of work. A lot of work actually.

Happy happy day.

TurboTax is a finalist for 5 OMMA awards

When I started working on the TurboTax Online Advertising team a year ago, the team I joined kept winning awards for their prior year's work. As I looked on in barely disguised envy co-workers told me, "Don't worry, by next year you'll be up for awards too." Being used to doing social as a (near) skunkworks operation for almost four years, I honestly didn't have much faith in those prognostications. Here we are, a year later, and I'm 100% delighted to say I was wrong – one of the many benefits of working for this guy

Pretty exciting – TurboTax is up for 5 OMMA awards this year… three of the five categories are for social programs. The three social-related awards are (drum roll please)…

• Best In Class – Banner – Standard, Flash or Rich Media – TurboTax Twitter/Google Banner Ad
• Best In Class – Contest/Promotion or Sweepstakes – TurboTax “SuperStatus” Campaign
• Best in Class – Social use of Widgets: Intuit “SuperStatus”

(Seth has a list of all the awards we're up for on his blog)

There's a "member's choice" award, so please take a moment and vote for us! We've got some competitors on the list as well, so we can really use your help. Plus the functionality behind the list is pretty cool on its own.

Please oh please help us bring one of these bad boys home to Momma this year.