What's In Your Strategy? Have an Objective!

What's In Your Strategy? Have an Objective!

I like to keep things simple. Too often I see proposals, presentations and marketing campaigns that are over complicated and difficult to execute.

When developing a strategy of any kind be sure you keep the following in mind:

Target Audience: Who do you want to target? Be clear,narrow and focused.

Objective: What do you hope to do? Again, be clear and focused and make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.

Strategy:  What do you need to do in order to target your audience and meet your objective? How do you get there?

Tactics: This is how/where you will find your audience, what you will say to meet your objective (call to action) and fulfill your strategy (drive an action).

Obviously this is high-level, but if you start of every effort with the above in mind you will be sure to be develop a plan that achieves your goals more often than not.

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4 Steps to Develop a Risk Assessment & Crisis Social Media Plan

4 Steps to Develop a Risk Assessment & Crisis Social Media Plan

Social Media watchers have seen over the last week two separate instances where a crisis plan is required as a part of any digital strategy and social media plan. Sanofi-Aventis ran into issues with their Facebook page and Nestle has had some negative feedback on their page as well.

Jeremiah Oywang, has a nice summary of the situation with Nestle and steps to take in the event of a crisis.

In case you haven’t been watching, Nestle’s Facebook Fan page has been overrun by critics around deforestation, sustainability and poor social media relations. While this isn’t the place to have a discussion sustainability, let’s look at the ramifications this has to society, brands, fans, and Facebook.
I spent a few hours reading and researching, it looks like members of Greenpeace launched an online protest, (read here, here, here) spurring a groundswell of online criticism, a majority of it on their Facebook fan page.   Nestle’ responded defensively,  threatening to remove off-brand logos from it’s Facebook page resulting in a flurry of negative comments. It’s not totally clear if Greenpeace staged and executed the whole attack, but regardless, the community is relentlessly dog piling on the brand’s Facebook page.  While Nestle’ responded with a Q&A on their corporate site, it appears Nestle’ has retreated from the discussion –leaving the page open for detractors
If You Fail to Plan then you Plan to Fail 

1. A risk assessment is standard issue for any strategy, but should develop a SOP as a component of any social media plan. Especially for any Rx/Dx marketers. You're being risk averse as it is, so please make sure you have an assessment of your weak points and where an attack could come in the event that there is some negative feedback. Be creative in order to scenario plan as much as possible.Think pricing, side effects, Sr. Management, labor, business practices, marketing practices, etc.

2. Create a response plan. This could include members of the internal response team, contact info, etc. Who are your major internal and external (customer) stakeholders? What do you want to communicate? What is the issue that needs to be addressed? If you're an Rx/Dx marketer, you want to do this well ahead of time to ensure you can respond in a timely manner. Build multiple scenarios and write multiple response plans. Yes, this sounds like a lot of work (and it is) but the last thing you want is to get hung up in Legal/Regulatory review when your Facebook page is blowing up.

3. Identify "Hit by a Train" Contingencies. Cross-train multiple people who could implement the plan. Remove all single points of failure that could prevent a fast response, i.e. "John Doe, our community manager, is on vacation this week and I don't how to respond." Identify back-up resources in the event someone is on vacation. 

3. Test and Train your plan. Please prepare your primary contacts, their back-ups and Sr. Management to manage for negative feedback. It is inevitable.

4. Develop a internal Social Media Oath and Plan. Build relationships with your communities and don't do anything that can't pass an "authentic" test. In the case of Nestle, specifically asking people not to mess with their logo, it begs people to mess with their logo. Is your voice authentic? Are you helping the community? Have you established enough trust and provided enough value that you can make a request?

I'll say it again, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Social Media and your community should be treated like a garden, it needs to cared for, watered and nurtured and if the sun shines just right you can be rewarded in the form of advocates, defenders and company loyalists; but only if you've done the work necessary to cultivate trust. It takes time and needs to happen as a core component of any plan.

Fortunately for the rest of us, there are situations like Motrin, Sanofi-Aventis and Nestle that serve as all too clear examples of how proper planning can help mitigate some of the risks of social media for Rx/Dx companies, but not entirely prevent.

Be prepared, folks.


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Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open

Have you ever locked into a train of thought and subsequently had a conversation with someone that completely opened your eyes to a different perspective? I had one recently and it reinforced to me a few things.

-Simplicity is difficult

-To differentiate in a fragmented, crowded market you have to resist talking about your latest, greatest new product and its great new features and talk about why someone needs it.

How can you engage in dialogue, add value and join the conversation? Why Social Media, of course.

This also reminded me of the Blue Ocean Strategy.

I think focusing on engagement and value creation while utilizing social media is a differentiable way to approach it for Rx/Dx companies and it will create value over time. For example, for orthopedic companies, I would suggest that they start a SM plan around education and talking about arthritis, pain management, the lengthy decision making process for a new joint, selecting a doctor, etc.




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What's In Your Strategy? 3 Ways to Get it Sold!

What's In Your Strategy? 3 Ways to Get it Sold!

I am fond of the saying, "one man's strategy is another man's tactics." Meaning that strategy often depends on perspective and goals.

Here are three approaches to selling your digital or social media strategy.

1. Work Top Down: In most Rx/Dx organizations Digital and Social Media strategy is usually coming from the bottom up and not top down. The Internet in general can be a tough explanation let alone social media. To top it off, it's often being developed from the middle of the organization. My suggestion is to go as high as you can and work your way down through the organization. It's much easier to buy/sell a strategy when Sr. Leadership has already seen and approved your approach.

2. Find common ground: In order to get buy-in on your strategy you have to get buy-in from all corners of marketing. That means that every function (product, branding, corp. communications, etc) all have to buy in and off on your proposed approach. The difficulty is that people usually come at decision making from their own perspective. Find the common ground and work from that perspective. It usually helps you identify potential issues and objections that you can prepare to satisfy internal stakeholders and move your strategy forward.

3. Anticipate Objections: One of the biggest reasons strategies can go sideways is because there hasn't been enough time and thought put into objections and risks. Make sure you thoroughly analyze potential objections from all perspectives and the associated risks. Things like business risks, cost risks, audience risks, etc. This is not trivial and will make or break the entire strategy if not carefully evaluated and accounted for in your strategy and proposal.

In the end, if you develop your strategy and build in the above into your plan, you will likely be perceived as analytical, strategic and thorough. Those are all characteristics you want to be known for. 

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