Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Loser generated content vs User generated content

October 6, 2006

There’s a residual, though fast evaporating, image of a blogger. In the public perception they must be either angsty teenagers, techie geeks or political nutjobs.

That’s true, if you count number 1 selling artist Lily Allen as the teen, Sun Microsystems CEO Johnathan Schwartz as the geek and President Ahmadinejad of Iran as the political nutjob.

Why do they blog? I think The Economist answers this best when looking at why top economists blog. Blogging has “it’s place in the intellectual influence game”. Link

That’s why I’d want to do it. You get your ideas out there and make sure they’re fighting for you on the web. Then once you’ve sold an idea the rest will fall into place far more easily.

That’s worth making time for.

(By the way, most of this post was written on my mobile on the way back to work.)

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The wonders of wikis

October 3, 2006

One of the problems of trying to get my blog project off the ground is that I have spoken to a lot of people about it. This has given the false impression that I’m only obsessed by blogs, when I’m obsessed by new media as a whole. This blog should show that I’m a rounded digital player with an understanding of many developments on the web.

I would like to take the opportunity to showcase/showoff my Group Sales wiki (for what it’s worth). This was something that I started, believing it would enable a greater level of conversation amongst parts of the group that are separated by borders and wonky timezones.

Firstly, what is a wiki? This is answered very well in an article by John Edwards of CFO :

“Wiki,” the Hawaiian word for “quick,” is also the name for collaborative Web sites that let users add and edit content quickly and easily.

The best-known of these collaborative sites is Wikipedia, a multilingual Web-based encyclopedia. Unlike conventional online reference works, which are updated on regular schedules by professional writers and editors, Wikipedia is written entirely by volunteers and allows most articles to be changed, edited, or updated by any user at any time. This continual, “community oriented” publishing approach has enabled it to become the world’s most largest and most current encyclopedia — though hardly the most accurate, say detractors.

As Wikipedia’s popularity has soared, businesses have begun to investigate its underlying technology as a way to share business and financial knowledge among employees, suppliers, and customers. Why use highly structured content management software, they reason, when a wiki’s collaborative process can get the job done faster and easier?”

The software has already been adopted by many organisations (there is even, I believe, an Economist editorial Social Text wiki). A good example of such just such a company is Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. There is a great case study on the implementation and this is part of the conclusion :

“At DrKW, wiki users have seen demonstrable value. Their meetings run more smoothly and are more productive; unnecessary barriers between teams are being broken down; the quality of product specifications and documentation is improving; presentations are being written faster and more effectively; and the risks posed by staff leaving is reduced.

But more than that, the wiki is helping people form business relationships with people that they would otherwise never have met. It’s strengthening existing relationships, and providing a forum for high quality conversation and exchange of ideas.”

Having drunk from the wiki Kool Aid I thought I’d see if I could get some of these benefits by setting up a wiki on StikiPad. The chief aim of this was to put up information that I had on the Postgraduate Courses section that I was working on (see Economist’s of 30th September and October 7th).

This would be a way of putting information up there which could then be shared without sending a barrage of group emails around the salespeople and reps. I have the privilege of working on courses full time and I’d love it if others could benefit from my work. What would be even better would be if I could benefit from their’s.

Eventually I put up here not just Postgraduate section material, but also dotcom options and sales emails for the various surveys.

Now, I’m not going to say it was a success. Whilst some folk have accepted authorship of the wiki, it has just one user. The total failure of the project aside, I hope you can see that I try to come up with innovative, practical solutions using web apps.

If you would like to have a look around this ghost wiki please email me and I’ll send you an invitation.

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The benefits of collaboration

How to use a blog to build client relationships. Part 1.

October 3, 2006

At a certain stage of working on my Blogging for Business project – as I shall now christen it – I decided that I would make a few trial posts as an example of what I would write. The aim of it was to provide content that would be of interest to my key stakeholders – agencies and business education clients.

The key was to provide information that was interesting enough to attract the attention of a Dean, but useful enough to help an account exec get some ideas before they go to see their one business school client.

Here’s an example of a post.

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One of the reasons that I really appreciate Santiago Iniguez’s blog, and his outlook in general, is that he has a very broad outlook on what an MBA should be. His latest post expands on the idea that the role of business education providers as suppliers of cultural and even spiritual guidance to their participants.

As the MBA comes under attack from such luminaries as Seth Godin and by such movements as the Personal MBA then schools which provide transformative experiences might be the one’s that grab the attention.

In his latest post he writes about how literature can be used to as an inspiration in business. Recently I’ve been reading a bit of William Blake and Allen Ginsberg. These radical visonary poets, who see new models for the future amid the crumbling certainties of their time, certainly get you thinking broadly. I’d advise anyone who wants to get a different perspective on disruption and creation to read them.

On the other hand, there might be a lot of head scratching when participants read the first lines of Ginsberg’s Howl : ‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked’. Things have changed since the 50s, I suppose. Don’t the best minds of a generation now work at Google? Who else would see this sign and think of 7427466391.

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As funny as the rate of change of the curve y=r^3/3

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There are also more posts on how to teach MBA students to build online personas, using business school blogs to find out about your courses and how new networking technologies can help business schools.

The key was to use the advantage that I had – knowledge of the internet, an ability to scour the web for business school news – to provide useful content for my clients.

Back from the dead: the phoenix blog

October 1, 2006

This is the second blog I have written for The Economist and it’s good to be back. What happened to the last one? Well, I began it the moment I heard I’d got the job. I was so excited by it that I wanted to share that with the many others who are interested in The Economist.

Moreover, for some time I had been convinced that blogging would help me create better client relationships. Whilst looking for a work in media sales, I knew I would use a blog to communicate with customers in my next position.

A blog would be perfect way to help create client relationships built on trust and openness. However, I had not appreciated the fact that, in a large company, initiatives such as that can not just be started on a whim. I shut it down and began preparing a presentation to sell the idea internally – more on that later.

I deleted the blog, but I saved the posts I’d made and thought I could share some of them here. Starting with the description of myself which, for those who don’t know me, is accurate today :

Hi I’m Tom Shelley, a newbie Economist sales stooge (starting next Monday) with a real interest in publishing and the web.

This is where you can find out more on The Economist, more about what I’m doing and it should give you an insight into the best current affairs magazine in the world.

On top of all that I’ll be writing about the whole web/publishing/self-publishing/2.0 stuff from The Economist eye’s view.

Hold onto your hats it’s going to be very exciting indeed.”

Six months on and it’s still very exciting, I’ve still got a real interest in the web and I’m still thinking about “the whole web/publishing/self-publishing/2.0 stuff”, as I so eloquently put it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to move from thought into action.