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Sandy Carter on the Biggest Myths of Marketing 2.0

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Most marketers have been trained on traditional methods, but don't know how to use new technology. In this interview with IBM's Sandy Carter, author of The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market, she explains that you can learn how to bring community into your social media marketing efforts, with a measurable payoff.
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InformIT sat down with Sandy Carter, vice president of IBM Software Group Channels and social media evangelist, to talk about her findings on Marketing 2.0 strategies in her latest book The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market. The book is garnering great reviews—a bit of a double-header for Carter, since it comes on the heels of her earlier book, The New Language of Business: SOA and Web 2.0, which received a Platinum MarCom Award in 2008.

Carter was also honored with the AIT United Nations Member of the Year award in 2008 and in previous years for helping to bring technology to developing countries. She leads a global, award-winning marketing organization that has won 24 industry marketing awards. Under her leadership, IBM's service-oriented architecture (SOA) marketing efforts have resulted in 64% market share for SOA. In addition, IBM WebSphere has become a market leader and has received more than 34 industry awards. Fast Company recently named Carter one of the most influential women in technology.

Here's what she had to say about winning Marketing 2.0 strategies in an increasingly competitive world.

Your new book is titled "The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market." Angels—that sounds great to the ears of companies beleaguered by this economy. But what do you mean by "angels"?

As a marketing executive at IBM, I've found that these Marketing 2.0 techniques, combined with traditional marketing methods, drive down costs and increase revenue. In the book, The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market, I use a methodology that I created called ANGELS, which stands for Analyze the Market, Nail the strategy, Go to market socially, Energize the channel and market, Leads and revenue, and Scream with technology. Each of these areas shows how to combine social media with traditional marketing techniques.

How do you summon these ANGELS and make them work for you?

The ANGELS can be summoned when you've supplemented your traditional marketing skills with social media technology skills. Most marketers have been trained on the traditional methods but are not yet trained on the new technology that enables marketing.

This doesn't mean that marketers need to be technologists. But they cannot be afraid of technology. To enable the ANGELS, every marketer now needs the Marketing 2.0 toolkit, which includes Twittering, blogging, podcasts, widgets, mobile technology, and more!

Summoning the ANGELS means you have a competitive advantage in the way you leverage the technology to expand your customer base. The new world of Marketing 2.0 is happening now. I've heard many marketers say that they're waiting to see how it pans out. Don't be fooled by how frivolous some of the early uses of social and virtual worlds may seem, as there are real businesses using the technology today.

What do you think are the greatest myths about Marketing 2.0? The pitfalls that people fall into?

I think there are a few! First, the greatest myth is that Marketing 2.0 is the answer to all of marketing's problems! Some people see it as magic: If they stick up a blog, or do five tweets, then they're on their way. That couldn't be further from the truth!

Second, I've also seen a lot of marketers start up a community and then give it a month to be successful. You have to be willing to put time and energy into your efforts to truly see them through.

And finally, I think a great myth is that you have to plan and get it right the first time! The beauty of social media is that you can experiment. You can add a social element in the morning—and by lunchtime, see the results and adjust!

Your book is very comprehensive, addressing everything from next-generation search to virtual environments. We're impressed with your mastery of such sweeping technologies and techniques. Many of these are not only new, but constantly evolving. Second Life, for example, started as a game but has since evolved to a virtual environment suitable for many political, business, and scientific uses. Bill Bainbridge, a scientist at the National Science Foundation, recently held the first academic conference entirely in World of Warcraft. GamerCoach trains employees for a variety of companies on PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, and PC games. The uses appear endless.

But how do these environments lend themselves to marketing? Does your book address only social networking in virtual environments, or all the options available in virtual worlds and games?

In the book, I showcase how companies like IBM and The Coca Cola Company are using virtual worlds like Second Life today in experimentation in marketing. I also love the opportunity that serious gaming brings to the table. I believe firmly in gaming for marketing.

In the book, I showcased how, in one year, our serious game, INNOV8 1.0, had over 100 universities—including Duquesne University, University of Southern California, and Manchester Business School (UK)—using the game to train students on the concepts. To enhance traditional teaching methods, university professors view serious games as an effective way of teaching new skills to a generation that has grown up in the videogame era.

According to a 2008 study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a great lecture can improve learning outcomes by 17%. Switching to a different delivery mechanism like serious games can improve learning outcomes by 108%. Why is this great marketing? It seeds the universities with your approach, much like what Apple did with computers.

In addition to gaming being used to educate and seed your marketplace, gaming can be used to drive leads. We just introduced INNOV8 2.0, now expanded beyond training and seeding the marketplace to being a true lead-generation engine. This game is now playable online and affords opportunities for not just students, but clients and partners to learn through play. With the new scoring leader board, we can contact and garner leads from the players and even post them on Facebook and MySpace. The possibilities are endless!

Search has been king of the hill in marketing efforts for quite some time now, but search metrics, even Google's, have been dropping recently. Many attribute this drop to the advent of social media. Do you think this is true? In general, how does this affect search marketing techniques, if at all? Has search-engine optimization (SEO) come and gone, for example?

I think that SEO will be around for a while. It's still one of the [top] ways that a strong and measurable return on investment can be demonstrated for social media. People still use Google as their new home page. Search engines are the place to explore and comparison shop.

I love this analogy: Search engines are like malls. Sony has its own brand retail store in the mall, it has some products at Sears; and it has offerings on its own website. Customers who know they want Sony will go to the Sony website or store; but many customers may just know they want a digital camera. They want to find how folks rate the camera, and then they'll go to Sears or another store to look at them. We still get 80% of our website hits from search!

However, I do believe that social media has impact on this effect. Instead of people going to Google, many are asking the question on Twitter, or they go to a set of bloggers they trust. In fact, every analyst firm has shown that people trust other customers more than any other source! I do believe this effect will impact search, but I bet that search will be around for a while, especially now that 3D visual search capability is just about to hit the streets.

Many say that blogging and podcasting are on their way out—that they have been essentially replaced by social media and videocasting. Is there still a role for marketing in these forms? Should a company podcast and videocast? Blog and tweet? Is there guidance in your book on which to do when? Can you give us a hint?

Blogging and podcasting are part of social media, and I think will be around for a while! I still have around 100K hits to my blog and get tons of great insight from the comments posted to me, and the contacts I make from the blog for IBM.

I think that humans are different, and as such prefer different forms of receiving a message. Some people like audio to listen to as they work out or drive. Others are very visual and can only truly receive the message through a picture and video.

I believe that you should choose your tool based on your goals! You can't just say, "Oh, yeah, use video," or "Do a blog." Marketing 2.0 is about supplementing your traditional marketing with social elements.

For instance, we leveraged Flickr in a recent Tour of Events to generate excitement and get our client set telling our story for other potential clients. It was not in place of traditional, but combined with direct mail and Twittering, it helped us generate a 10% uplift in our events attendance! The book outlines the goals of the tools, and the online version shares some very simple Marketing 2.0 plans.

Viral marketing and eNurturing are perhaps the least understood of the new marketing plays. Can you give us an illustration of these techniques and how they work?

Viral marketing is the propagation of marketing messages through peer-to-peer exchange—like wildfire, and often online. The characteristics of something that gets passed around is usually a "sticky message" and content, offering some reward, and typically is unique. In the book, I illustrate one of the best examples of this concept with The Coca Cola Company and EepyBird.com. The video of two "scientists," 101 bottles of Diet Coke, and hundreds of Mentos showed the reaction of the two products together in a huge fountain effect. It started as just a video for the fun of performance, but ultimately was a viral marketing campaign that significantly drove up sales of both Mentos and two-liter bottles of Diet Coke.

eNurturing is about nurturing your lead online through the sales cycle. Examples include starting with a transactional email linked to content syndication, or a multi-touch email. Multi-touch continues an ongoing dialog and nurtures contacts with a variety of email content at a specified cadence. I also provide a few examples of eNurturing in the book.

Your book is truly fascinating, and already widely lauded as an incredibly sophisticated, but easy to understand how-to guide on Marketing 2.0. It's backed by a substantial number of case studies and hard science. How long did it take you to write such a masterful authoritative piece?

Thanks so much for the compliment! I tried really hard to show, through 54 case studies, how companies are doing social media marketing today. I researched for one year and experimented with my IBM team on the techniques so that I could learn firsthand how this world worked.

You were very involved with the launch of new social media tools, education programs, and technologies targeted at the service-oriented architecture (SOA) business partner community unveiled during IMPACT 2009. Are these different from the tools you addressed in your book?

This world is changing so fast that we have evolved in the way that we're using the social media tools with our traditional media. At IMPACT 2009, we took our use of social media to a whole new level. We used the tools outlined in the book to drive attendance; to listen to our clients and respond to their requests for sessions, and new products; and even to generate customer evangelists. I've written up two of those case studies, with more to come, on my blog.

You've authored other notable books. Congratulations! Do you have another coming up soon we should look for?

Yes, I'm hoping to publish a new book on how to use social media to drive your personal brand in this new world!

Any final advice on social media use in marketing?

I would say that now is the time to jump into social media with both feet. Experiment. Learn. And then share what you've done. I know you can reduce your costs and drive up your efficiency! And please follow me on Twitter.

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