Archive for December, 2010
Project managers need to know the status of a project (whether it is a research study or a marketing campaign) at all times, which requires frequent communication with the project team. At the same time, project managers need to alert team members to any changes, issues or problems as quickly as possible.
The project manager’s job is to know the tasks each team member is responsible for accomplishing and make sure everyone is working on tasks within the scheduled timeline to keep the project moving forward. The project manager also needs to be sure suppliers and consultants supporting the work are staying on track.
This requires regular communication from the project team and the suppliers regarding status, issues, and changes that may affect other team members and the project as a whole. Regular communication is important to keep on top of major milestones and help react and diffuse potential roadblocks.
A good guideline is to create communication venues that allow for daily updates and weekly review and planning sessions. However, every project is different and reviews may be needed more or less frequent depending on how quickly decision are required.
For most projects having a weekly team meeting with internal resources is a good way to keep everyone up-to-date on the project status. A separate weekly “touch base” meeting with clients is also suggested strongly. Although there may be times when little or no movement takes place on a project (e.g., while a study is in field), it is important to keep these lines of communication open with the client and the internal team.
Depending on the complexity of the program and the items that need to be discussed on each week’s agenda, schedule 30 minutes or more each week. If the agenda is light, the meeting can be adjourned early or meetings can be lengthened if the agenda is full that week. We suggest that even with a light agenda, the weekly client meeting not be cancelled. Always give the team a touch point with the client and allow for last minute issues to be discussed and resolved or a plan to be put in place as needed.
Organizational culture may dictate how teams communicate amongst themselves. If the communication style is working, great don’t fix what isn’t broken. However, if communication is a problem, you’ll need to find new and hopefully better methods. Emails, meeting notes, and task checklists with status updates are all examples of ways to keep everyone updated.
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We’d like to share a short presentation with you. It’s our Gift to everyone during the Holiday Month of December 2010. I hope you find something in it that brings joy to you and those you love.
This is a month for reflection and new hope. My holiday wish for all of us is Peace in Our Time. I know this wish seems naive, one only a dreamer would make. However, I’m sure I am not the only one wishing this wish. You may be wishing it too. As one of my hero’s said: ”I have a dream.” Martin Luther King Jr.
We typically think of social media sites such as LinkedIn as places for networking and sharing ideas, which is certainly their primary function. Over time, however, sites like LinkedIn (and to varying degrees other networking sites) have developed an enormous global reach. The sheer size of LinkedIn’s membership has resulted in the creation of groups on nearly every topic imaginable and discussions within these groups touching on thousands and thousands of subjects.
This “user” created content has propelled networking sites and LinkedIn in particular into a realm, which transcends networking. A listening opportunity for market researchers has emerged and not just for passive listening. The opportunity to conduct active listening (a.k.a. market research studies) is possible. In fact, it is already a reality, available to anyone with the skill to extract the information.
Here are three ways to access marketing information from LinkedIn:
Discussion groups offer a wealth of content. While you may rush to start your own discussions to capture content, you might find that the information you seek is already out there. Finding the group(s) and discussions with the content you are looking for can take some time and skill. However, if you find relevant content much of the work has been done for you (assuming the topic generated a large number of comments). The trick now is to synthesize the information and pull out the themes, trends, and other pearls of wisdom.
Of course, you can start your own discussion threads within a group. The advantage is you can design the specific question or topic you want to explore. In addition, as the author of the discussion you have a little more latitude to steer the discussion, allowing you to simulate an asynchronous focus group.
LinkedIn has additional functionality such as “Answers” which allows a user to pose questions and offer them up to the LinkedIn membership (Go to the main menu click on More and select Answers). The person asking the question can grade the answers and select a “best answer.” This is the motivation for taking time to participate.
Again, you don’t necessarily need to ask a question to glean value from this function. You may find that someone, and in some cases a number of people, have already asked a question that is close enough to the question you want answered. Once again, all you have to do is synthesize the content. Well that is the hard part, but the data are often there awaiting your analysis.
The Poll function also offers a simple but potentially powerful mechanism for collecting data on an individual question. Used creatively Polls can provide market intelligence, albeit with a very limited scope. You can search existing Polls or write and launch your own. Either way there are answers to questions waiting to be discovered. For no cost or low cost you can reap a great deal of market intelligence from LinkedIn using Polls and other functions either individually or in combination with one another.
These and other avenues for exploring the marketplace, listening to your target audience, and performing both qualitative and quantitative market research are available to anyone who wishes to use them.
Need help with questionnaire design ? Go to http://questionnairedesign.tatepublishing.net/
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The purpose of social media campaigns is to engage your target audience. This requires participation with prospects and customers. As the person responsible for your brand and brand image you’re likely to be the best advocate. However, before you can take advantage of the vast opportunities the internet offers you must have the appropriate assets in place and know how to use them and, moreover, how to leverage them.
Numerous businesses large and small have successfully outsourced the management of their social media assets and the marketing campaigns that use these assets. Careful selection of a social media company is obviously a first step. One way to evaluate these firms is to take note of how they evaluate you!
What processes do they use during the sales cycle? Have they done their due diligence to learn about your company before talking to you? Do they provide tools such as an assessment instrument to understand where you are with respect to internet marketing? Has a knowledgeable consultant [not the sales person] talked with you and demonstrated that they “get it.” That is, they understand your business and are ready to offer you an approach that fits your needs rather than a cookie cutter solution.
Firms that you outsource to should be able to create well integrated campaigns in your brand’s voice. Here are a few steps they should take to help you:
- Develop a strategy – not just a bunch of unrelated accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn.
- Use a process based on implicitly asking the questions “So what?” and “Now what?” repeatedly.
- Show you how social media marketing requires more than simply showing up
- Demonstrate the value of having a plan
- Provide evidence they can execute the plan and change it as conditions change
- Explain how a successful social media strategy elevates your company’s presence
- Show the path for bringing visitors to your website (Blog, eBook, event, store, etc.),
- Measure your ultimate success by tracking the number of leads generated and converted from visitors to paying customers
A social media strategist can devise a strategy to help you achieve these and other objectives. It requires commitment, hard work, and patience – a little luck never hurts either, but a good strategist makes his or her own luck.
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