Still having to justify Business Blogging in Corporate America

Many Marketers
I’m very fortunate to be able to talk to many of the wonderful Corporate Marketers all over Silicon Valley (our client list) and beyond, and business blogging and social media still requires some justification or some ROI to higher ups. Shel Israel is right, much of the blogging will happen at the edges of the company, built up by grassroots efforts. Corporate Marketers tend to figure this out really early, or really late, many often don’t realize that their own employees are already blogging. (and I’ve shown them using Technorati)

Charlene Li has an interesting report that helps to define the ROI of Business blogging
, she lists out quite a few variables to measure, but I promise you, that’s only a partial listing. Some additional examples could be reduced support costs, increased hiring opportunities, measurable brand influences, decrease in Marketing Collateral, and the time saved by a blogger that is now able to email the world, rather than small groups.

The dreaded Success/ROI question
Today, one Analyst Relations Marketing manager asked me about the Gartner report that says Blogging is slowing down. My response? Do you have kids? If so, how do they communicate? The next generation doesn’t read the newspaper, the TV is ambient, and they only use email when they have to. Please don’t forget that MySpace and Facebook have blogging features, and that’s just North America. That lead into an interesting discussion, and I think he sees the value. Recently, I heard that Gartner has silenced unsanctioned blogs, which makes sense given they sell intellectual property, are you surprised they would issued such a report? Funny how Charlene and Forrester embrace blogging.

By the way, for most of the clients that I talk to (well they are more sophisticated than that credit union in the mid west) they understand the importance of these tools, rarely do they push back, they just need to understand.

Today I was asked “How to you measure success of Social Media Programs” from a Sr Marcom manager. I told her I have two answers:

1) How do you measure the success of a conversation between your sales rep and a prospect in the early stages of a relationship? How do you measure the success of all your other marketing and branding activities, the formula would be the same. That’s a very silly answer to her question, here’s the practical answer

2) I recommend measuring the success of a Social Media program depending on the objectives, there is no cookie cutter way to measure success, it depends on the goals of the program, whether it be thought leadership, buzz, reaching to customers, managing crises, customer outreaches, etc.

I’m patient
Blogging has yet to normalize, so we’ll continue to have to justify something until ‘publish to all’ is a feature of Microsoft Outlook and other email tools, give it a few years.

(Update: The Normalization of blogging is a phrase I’ve been using quite frequently, I want to credit Blog Business Guru Shel Israel for first imprinting how it will flatten.)