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Innovation Is a 10,000 Foot Free Fall

I hear so much lately about innovation with virtually every company claiming that they are innovative. Is that really true, or is it yet another over used buzz word that has no substance?  I personally see little true innovation, just claims of being innovative (who would say otherwise, right?).  One way to determine if innovative is actually taking place is to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are you scared (just a bit)?
  2. Do you have more skeptics than advocates?
  3. If you fail, are there repercussions?
  4. How do you define failure?
  5. How much permission did you need to execute?

I especially like the skeptics vs. advocates question. It directly correlates to a safe zone that is easy to fall into. It’s where little innovation can take place – a black hole. Some of the best outcomes have occurred when there were few supporters (until it succeeded). Read More »

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10 tips to kick off your Digital Forum

Who is running digital marketing in your company? Your company’s social media team? The web marketing team? The product marketing team? Your bloggers?

Truth is, everybody in your marketing organization should be engaged in digital marketing today; the marketing message, vision and goals of your company should be reflected in everything your employees do that is related to the product and your customer.

With that being said, wouldn’t it make sense for your marketers pertain to understand how these digital channels come to life? Wouldn’t an educated and able internal workforce help you build integrated marketing programs and break down silos?

Here at Cisco, our answer was yes. And with that the Digital Marketing Forum was born. The Forum provides a communal place where we can demonstrate, educate and enable our internal workforce to use digital marketing, while encouraging best practices and the opportunity to share learnings.

After successfully pulling off our first Forum, we want to share 10 tips which will help you plan yours:

  1. Get executive commitment. Work with your executive team on topics and get their support for the forum.
  2. Make it count. Research the groups that should be invited, gather email alias and names and send out a save the date ahead of time. Be aware of global teams and their time zones.
  3. Plan for success. Treat this internal event as you would any external event and plan ahead of time with firm deadlines.
  4. Pick one topic or message. Don’t overwhelm your audience, keep it to one simple message or topic of great importance.
  5. Be flexible. Have a back up plan in case a speaker or topic falls through.
  6. Be mindful of the event length, date and time. Try to limit your event to 2 hours maximum and pick a day and time of the week that is not crazy busy (don’t try to get people Monday morning… )
  7. Put on your teacher hat. How can you present your learnings and best practices so people can easily follow and remember? What worked for us was 10-minute case studies.
  8. Use digital channels. Make sure mobile and onsite workers can attend through online channels.
  9. Get an outside speaker. Share industry thoughts and knowledge from a different perspective; define topics beforehand.
  10. Evaluate and adjust. After the event solicit feedback trough surveys, polls, chats, comments on your community sites; ask people for ideas and new topics.

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Model “A Day in the Life …” for Better Collaboration

There’s a lot of collaboration technology out there and deciding which technology to invest in can be daunting.  How often have you heard of a company making a major investment in technology for it to become “shelfware” and never see deployment?  How often have you heard of a company that’s deployed a technology, yet nobody in the company is willing to use it?  How often have you heard of a company that has several products from different vendors that do exactly the same thing?

It doesn’t take much to realize that each of these situations has a negative impact and the cause of each situation stem from different reasons, but usually with the best intentions.  Shelfware occurs because of undeployed licenses in ELA’s or quantity purchases for better per seat pricing.  Unfortunately, the business doesn’t grow and the company is obligated to pay for unused licenses.  Other times, a company deploys a product with great features that is too complex or doesn’t integrate well with workflows and remains unused.  Lastly, individual departments may make purchase decisions based on their needs without consulting IT or other departments resulting in redundant solutions that compete internally with each other.

In considering collaboration strategy, it is key to consider Read More »

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Using Video to Grow Your Small Business – Melinda Emerson @SmallBizLady Shares Tips

Melinda Emerson, aka “SmallBizLady” is a veteran entrepreneur; small business expert and social media coach who specializes in helping small businesses thrive. Today hosted a WebEx offering tips for using video to help grow your business.

Watch her on-demand webinar on using video for your business.

Why should you use video?

Here are a few interesting stats about video Melinda shared with us:

  • Online video is expected to grow 55% this year and is the top format for content marketing.
  • Videos have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text context.
  • 58% of consumers ages 18-34 who follow brands on social media would watch a video posted by that brand.
  • 57% of Smartphone users polled say they’ve streamed video on mobile.
  • Videos are integral to the success of any SEO strategy.
  • 90% of web traffic is predicted to be video by 2014.

With all that good news, there’s one important point Melinda makes about using video: don’t waste people’s time. To be effective, keep it short. 88% of people say they would watch a video that educated them for at least one minute.

Use video to create a deeper relationship with your customer.

Here are 12 ways you can use video to market your business (be sure to watch the on-demand presentation to learn more).

1. Blog content. 5. Video training. 9. Live video streaming.
2. Customer testimonials. 6. Interviews. 10. Webinars.
3. Product demos. 7. Commercials. 11. Viral video.
4. Email video. 8. Video news release (VNR). 12. Product reviews.

Melinda went on to explain how to create videos that are interesting to customers. Read More »

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The Social Soap Box: Digital is BIG Business in Thailand and Asia

When you think of Thailand, historic Buddhist temples and shrines usually come to mind. However, during my visit to the golden land last week, I was pleasantly surprised by the proliferation of social and digital media. From QR codes to Facebook logos splattered across the many storefront windows, it’s no wonder Bangkok is ranked the largest Facebook city and Thailand ranked 16th largest Facebook country. While dining at a local restaurant in Chiang Rai, it was hard not to do a Facebook check-in when promotional materials were easily visible on tables, walls and even menus. And yes, I checked in and received my 5% discount.

Although Thailand is considered a developing country according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it’s use of digital and social media certainly makes the country advanced by any standard. According to eMarketer, Thailand is ranked fourth among Southeast Asian countries in the percentage of “likes” and “follows” corporate brands receive from consumers. The top three are Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.  Here are  additional data from an eMarketer report:

  • 47% of APAC companies use SM, and 56% are planning to use SM
  • 47% of APAC companies use SM, and 56% are planning to use SM
  • This year, Asia-Pacific will pass North America as the region with the most Facebook users
  • Asia-Pacific has three times as many social network users as North America

For marketers and communicators, this presents a great opportunity to expand your company’s digital and social footprint. At Cisco, we are continually experimenting how to reach customers and influencers in various countries through social media. We currently have over 200 social channels globally, and approximately 12 in APAC. That includes properties on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as global outlets such as Weibo and VKontakte.


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