Bob Barker’s Blog – How people use social media
I run Scredible Professional Services the learning,development and coaching arm of Scredible.com helping executives understand, develop and apply social networking, social business and with marketing support, social media skills to support business growth in the digital world.
I have spent most of my career marketing in the IT/Marketing Software industry (NCR/Oracle/SAS/Alterian), where I have built up a strong body of practical experience in the transformation of marketing through digital, Internet and social technologies, as well as understanding how “social” fits in a corporate organisation now we are in the “from .com to .people” era.
My personal cause is to: “help motivate, inspire and educate people about the need for digital and social media competence”, by interviewing people who are getting results/have worked out the how to, because I believe it is a vital skill set for both business and individuals success in the future.
To check out my full career history and links – click here www.linkedin/BobBarker.
Real world social connection
In the new digital/scoial age (the next phase of humanity as Deepak Chopra puts it – watch this insightful interview) I believe it is also important that people maintain their real world human connection and social life, feel part of a real community, feel valued and make a regular contribution to their fellow human beings.
The dangers of “being overly digitally dependent/online” can lead to real world loneliness or isolation, and an inability or the opportunity, to connect socially in the real world.
To this end I am privileged to be member of Hillsong Church in Kent www.hillsong.co.uk/kent (he is also an active member of the Church) who’s aims focus around social connection and community, especially for younger generation and family’s.
An Interview with Bob Barker
(Published whilst CMO at Alterian)
1. Q: What was your first B2B-related job?
A: My first step into the B2B technology industry was selling British made minicomputer systems and software to the NHS and blue-chip companies during the mid-80s.
2. Q: What do you most enjoy about your job?
A: No day is ever the same. It is a constant challenge of marketing orchestration across all aspects of the business from internal communication to analyst relations, from engagement on the website to our social media deployment execution, from creating great campaigns to keeping the sales force happy, from working on how to build the brand for the long term to making sure we have references, from writing a blog to making a video etc.
Plus all these things are constantly changing as we move towards a more human, people centric, engagement approach to marketing. As someone recently said there has never been a better and more interesting time to be in marketing.
Q: Which B2B brand do you most admire?
A: Salesforce.com, they saw the opportunity for SaaS and CRM. They got it all right – the right products at the right time, and at the right price point. They are extremely good at being the leader in this market.
3. Q: What’s the best piece of marketing advice you’ve even been given?
A: “Everything you do or say affects your brand” which came from Gary Brine former CEO of Gyro International. Never has this been more pertinent than now, as a marketer you need to understand that every single person in your company is a brand ambassador, in fact they are your most powerful brand asset. Everyone in the organisation has a voice now, whether they know that or not!
4. Q: What are the traits you most and least admire in yourself?
A: I am a “driver” type personality, in that when I really believe in something, or have a task, I will stick with it, and really push until it becomes success or is completed. On a positive note, this means i can be very focussed and driven, but on the other hand I dare say a lot of my colleagues say I can be a bit like a dog with a bone.
5. Q: What is your proudest achievement?
A: Personally, my family, a fantastic wife and three happy children now all at college. Professionally, when I was 20 years old, I was a Royal Navy pilot, and when I flew a helicopter solo for the first time, that gave me an enormous sense of achievement.
More recently, it was when I masterminded a 2 day story telling workshop (using www. the-Storytellers.com) with 150 top employees when Alterian merged with Media Surface in 2008 a company bigger than Alterian at the time. The two day session had real impact, it synced the two teams, building very strong relationships and making sure everyone was on message immediately. That’s quite rare with mergers and acquisitions.
6. Q: To succeed, a B2B marketer must…
A: Work closely with sales to make sure you are giving them what they need to get their job done and just as important, listening to your customers, if not 1:1 by visiting them (if you can get access through sales) at least using social media to tap what they are thinking, where they are hanging out online, what the sentiment is towards your product etc.
7. Q: What is your favourite B2B ad campaign past or present?
A: A Business 2.0 magazine billboard campaign when they launched in Silicon Valley in 1998. The message was had a brilliant double message which was simple but very impactful.
“Business 2.0, do you get it yet?” This was at the start of e-business and the internet exploding. The placement, timing and message was perfect.
8. Q: Our jobs would be easier if…
A: We didn’t allow ourselves to be constantly interrupted.
9. Q: What marketing challenge are you currently wrestling with?
A: At the moment I am trying to refine a cross marketing content and campaign creation planning processes. This is to help coordinate our priorities for content creation across marketing, understand where and who the content is coming from, allocate the appropriate funds to each project and agree time-scales and deliverables across all our marketing channels.
10. Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
A: Content, Content, Content – where is it coming from? who is creating it? is it engaging?
I also talk a lot about “first you have to listen” to the market, now that we have the ability through social media monitoring and analytics. We can hear what people are talking about on almost any subject, and it sometimes has surprising results. I call it “instant market research”.
11. Q: What was your last marketing epiphany?
A: Listening to Chet Holmes (US sales guru) on a podcast say “At any given time, only 3% of people in the market are looking to buy your product or service.”
It reminded me why search and social are so important and impactful as it’s the 3% doing their research, and the 3% asking their network through Linkedin, Facebook, blogs, Twitter etc, whether they can recommend a product or service. Our job is to make sure the brand is found and to be engaging in that process if we can.
12. Q: Which marketing campaign or idea do you wish you’d thought of?
A: Groupon, the group buying service. It’s a fantastic idea to build a community and reward them for making a group choice by offering them great deals on products and services.
The other two are of course Facebook and Twitter, they have become bigger than anyone would have ever imagined.
13. Q: Which marketing or business books would you recommend?
A: Anything by Seth Godin (Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars, Linchpin etc) . Also “The First 90 Days” an HBR book by Michael Watkins which talks about what you should do when you first join an organisation, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, brilliant for self organization, or if you want looking into the future stuff “The 2020 Workplace” by Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd.
14. Q: Which individual has had the most influence on your career?
A: Tony Robins, he is a lifestyle, business, finance and now internet coach and is extremely good at interviewing people on these topics. I met him in 93 at one of his events but I have been listening to his tapes in the car over the years, and they have made a real impact and been a great source of inspiration.
15. Q: My biggest extravagance is…
A: Sailing with my family in Greece or Turkey. It’s just such a colourful, lovely, adventurous, outdoorsy, fun way to spend time together in idyllic sailing conditions. This must be the case as the children still want to come with us.