Friday Five

Roughly 5 years ago, I created “Friday Five”, a simple weekly email that went out to members of the organization who subscribed. Yes, people had to subscribe. I didn’t want to simply “blast” it to everyone. I wanted to people to want it; and I only wanted to send it to people who would find value in it.

Friday Five was born out of a simple problem: there’s simply too much information out there. Think about your own inbox right now. There’s email newsletters from existing vendors and agencies. Then there’s the FREE webinar invites. Let’s not forget about the invites from conference organizers, to attend and learn from experts. And then finally, you have the email chains that originated with someone in your organization reading an article about X…then wanting everyone else to be aware of the article. That’s a lot of information. A lot.

The problem with all that information is that individual pieces often contradict another piece of information. One newsletter says a Facebook ad generates $2.00 in sales, while another says it $14.00. That’s problematic when you’re trying to drive organizational change. There’s of course the other challenge…each and every vendor/agency has an agenda. That information they share is often used to push their organization’s point of view. For example, how many of you have seen an email headline saying something like “90% of the Best Performing Companies, Use Big Data.” And wait for it…that email comes from a Big Data company.

In any organization, big or small, you need to make sure the right information is reaching the right people. Friday Five was a way to make sure that happened. One of the very first things I did at Campbell was to send this email:

With so much information out there, links to click, articles to read, tweets to scan content to consume, it can get a little maddening. Every Friday, I gather up the 5 links (usually from that week) that you should spend some time reading. Feel free to unsubscribe, forward on, or request someone be added to the list.

The response was outstanding. That first Friday Five email dropped on Friday June 1, 2012…my second week at Campbell. We haven’t missed a week yet. It’s a lot of fun, to be honest. I get to play the role of master curator. Here’s an example of what I send in a Friday Five.

Obama campaign’s chief data guy gets candid about the data strategy that won the election
Great story from the guy who architected the strategy, based on data, the won the election. I love this nugget “We were heavily focused on open source, did a lot of coding ourselves, used a lot of databases, used Hadoop, R, Strata and worked with 20 different vendors,” – There is no 1 perfect source of data, but you can create a nearly perfect model by combining the right sources.

Teens aren’t abandoning “social.” They’re just using the word correctly
Much has been written of late about the decline of social media for the teenage segment. This is really a great example of poor insights being derived from great data. Take this passage describing the real reason Facebook usage for teens has declined:

“What is Facebook to most people over the age of 25? It’s a never-ending class reunion mixed with an eternal late-night dorm room gossip session mixed with a nightly check-in on what coworkers are doing after leaving the office. In other words, it’s a place where you go to keep tabs on your friends and acquaintances.

You know what kids call that? School.”

All social networks are unique. Each exists for a different purpose. We flock to them based on those unique purposes. As we think about how social integrates with our own initiatives we need to be clear on the experience we want to create and how a social network enhances that experience. If it doesn’t enhance it, we shouldn’t be using it.

Mondelez Program Creates Fast Mobile Pilots
I’m jealous of this. I admit it. The team at Modelez sees mobile as a critical part of their marketing success. To ensure they didn’t continue doubling down on the present at the expense of the future, they carved away dollars from brand budgets to fund their mobile futures initiative. A first of its kind program, Mobile Futures paired nine start-up companies with power brand teams to accelerate and scale existing mobile innovations in this first phase of the initiative. It’s smart and it’s a sign of where things are going. Speed wins.

17 (mostly failed) Brand Tweets From The Oscars
As we move to an age of what some are calling “real time marketing” we need to consider how to make our marketing more meaningful. This past Super Bowl was a tipping point for brands who might have been on the fence about social media marketing. Efforts by Audi, Oreo and Walgreens highlighted how providing quick and contextual marketing during an event can breakthrough. This post by Jay Baer does a great job of highlighting how easy it is to do bad marketing in social and how hard it is to do great marketing. As I turn the lens inward, we’ve definitely stepped up our game following the Super Bowl. For example, this effort by Campbell Kitchen during the Grammy’s sticks out as exceptional: http://bit.ly/WfVMp5 There’s still work to be done. The key for making a lot of this work is being honest about the social currency your brand has. Not all brands have a natural social currency that leads to a natural intersection of pop culture (eg The Oscars) and marketing. Additionally, I can’t stress enough the importance of planning. “Real Time Marketing” or whatever we need to call it, isn’t just about events, it’s about being in the moments and moments happen every day.

Nike takes social media in-house
Not unlike digital in the early 2000s, as organizations make social a key part of their organizations, they are changing their resourcing models for social media. Nike is the most recent organization to make the full transition of bringing social media in-house. The trend was started by Ford, roughly 5 years ago and has continued with companies like Burberry, Pepsi and Audi follow suit. I think this quote in a DigiDay article really nails the situation: “I am thinking social media strategy, planning and insights will all move in-house for this reason. Agencies will be relied on for creative executions and helping brands stay ahead in the space. What I am hearing from our agencies is that they are thankful for our digital talent, because it becomes easier for them to sell their ideas to us.” As Denise often mentions, we need to get closer to our consumer and really understand them. Our decision to bring social media in-house 3 months ago is enabling that to happen. So I guess you could say, it looks like Nike is taking innovation cues from Campbell Soup :)

That’s a typical Friday Five. Just five quick reads covering everything from macro trends (big data) to organizational models (staffing social in-house) to competitive tracking (everything Bonin does). Perhaps my favorite aspect of Friday Five is that it grants me the ability to eliminate hyperbole (aka giant headlines) and infuse pragmatism (aka reality). For example, people often talk about how amazing Oreo’s tweet during the Super Bowl was. I think it was pretty amazing too. But, not because of the creative. It was amazing to me because of how fine tuned they needed to be organizationally/internally to make it happen.

The headlines and emails from our partners would have you believe that the future of marketing was going to be glib tweets. The industry also touted the “virality” of the tweet. We did some real digging to understand the impact. We worked with some of our great partners in social analytics. The reality was, nearly 90% of all the viral coverage and sharing was from people in the marketing/advertising/social industry. That was a critical find. It allowed us to be more pragmatic about what we needed to do moving forward, instead of simply chasing the next big shiny thing. Being able to share that POV made future meetings more productive, because we could frame the conversation with real insights, not opinions.

I would encourage you all to find your own version of Friday Five. Don’t let the outside world steer your organization. You need to take ownership and lead the organization.

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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