Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cloud Computing. Available at Amazon.com Today

I found this Wired article very informative and enlightening on the Cloud Computing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) ecosystem. I personally believe we are quickly moving to an online world of services where business decision makers can select, mix-and-match (mashup) and competitively bid for interactive marketing services instead of technologies. This will also alleviate the need to internally invest in large infrastructure projects that require extensive levels of reviews, approvals and capital.

I am a strong believer in these services and feel that Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others will offer an array of services that open this market up over the next couple of years.

My personal experience with interactive services started when I was at Dell in 1998-1999 where we were developing systems management services. I then worked on managed web services at Intel Online Services (an attempt by Intel to extend its brand into services and gain an understanding into why Sun Microsystems was very successful, at the time, in the web server business). Both programs were very early, maybe too early, but were exactly where the market is heading today. The first company to be truly successful in this area was and is Salesforce.com.

Monday, April 28, 2008

P&G Social Media Panel

I was invited by Stan Joosten at P&G to participate on a Interactive Marketing and Social Media panel with Lisa Bradner from Forrester Research and Bob Pearson from Dell today. The discussion was lively and timely and the P&G attendees had some very insightful questions. I think the one that has been sticking in my head since the panel came from Stan. What is the one skill a Marketing person needs to be successful in Interactive Marketing. This is a very tough question because I do not think there is just one skill. Also, I feel a good Interactive Marketer is a good Marketer. We have been separating these roles for far too long and it is time to integrate them. So, here is what I think a good Interactive Marketer should know:
  • Positioning - Be able to position your brand and your products and services.
  • Customer Segmentation - Know who you are targeting for your product or service.
  • Brand & Product Strategy - What is it? How will you win? How will you go to market?
  • Groundswell - Learn the Groundswell Framework that relies on you knowing Positioning, Customer Segmentation & Targeting, and Brand & Product Strategy. Knowing these and using the framework will allow you to assess your customers and strategize on how to best interact with them on the internet.
  • Experiment - Once you have the above well understood, try some low cost experiments and engage with your customers. Listen to your customers and find out how they would like to engage with you. It might be a blog, it might just be through your branded website, it might be through social networking sites like myspace and facebook or it might be through innovative services like Twitter. Let them guide you to the right technologies and services.
So, did I come up with one skill, not even close. Just as it takes a combination of many skills to become a great marketer it requires a combination of many skills to become a great interactive marketer. But I do think they require the same foundation of marketing skills that then evolve as experience is gained.

Someday, this will not even be a discussion point as interactive marketing will just be another, and possibly major, part of integrated marketing.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

First Blog Post

I have been an active reader of Blogs for quite a while and felt it was time to start my own. I am a Vice President E-Business and Interactive Marketing for Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) and am in the process of helping our brands explore the Interactive Marketing and Social Media ecosystem. I am creating this blog as a way for me to track my progress and keep track of interesting and cool services and technologies in this space.

Many people reading this blog may not know much about Newell Rubbermaid other than the obvious brand name (Rubbermaid) in our corporate name. We have over 30 brands in our portfolio including: Sharpie, Calphalon, Irwin, Rubbermaid, Paper Mate, Graco, Dymo, CardScan, Endicia, Levolor, Amerock, Lenox Tools, Goody, and several others. I list these as a reference only. I am not using this blog as a way to promote our brands but as a way for me to explore, learn and figure out how to use interactive marketing and social media to help our overall brand building efforts. We are moving from a company that was traditionally North America and Channel focused to one that is Global and Consumer focused. Interactive Marketing and Social Media will play a significant role in this transition over the next several years.

I am looking forward to hearing from anyone else who is exploring this area as well.

Let the ecosystem exploration blog begin.....

With that said, my very first post is complete.