Interview with Jenni Beattie from The Digital Edge – ‘Talkability’ is King in Social Media

by Lee Hopkins on November 11, 2008 · 8 comments

in interviews,tools

jenni beattie twitterpic I’ve long been a fan of Jenni Beattie and her insights into Social Media, so an interview with her was well overdue.

Despite some technical hiccups that have plagued your humble scribe recently, I actually managed to record an entire conversation in one go!

Mind you, from 13 minutes into the 45 minute conversation a very audible and annoying delay/echo starts. It’s taken me about six hours to try and edit out the most offending bits, but there is still a lot of ‘running over each other’. I also apologise that my own voice was so low in the mix – I’ve tried boosting it, but then it also boosts the pre-echo (if there is such a thing). Anyway, suffice to say that the audio quality is not so bad that you can’t listen to it, but the interview will never be rebroadcast on ABC radio
:-)

 

There is a new digital offering over at The Digital Edge and Jenni discussed it in some detail, but only after we spent considerable time dissecting some of the ‘tools of the online trade’:

Jenni was snapped up via LinkedIn to be the Director of Digital Consulting over at The Digital Edge (it’s a great story!) and it’s no wonder — what she doesn’t know about social research (both offline and online) doesn’t bear worrying about.

Experienced in not only digital PR but also Knowledge Management, research and just what it takes to build a community from scratch, Jenni is a font of good wisdom.

One of the key ‘take-aways’ of our discussion was the importance of ‘Talkability’: that intangible but essential essence of all good social media connections. As she recounts, just because a company thinks it has a great product or service, or is just a great place to work, doesn’t necessarily make for a great social media result.

An invaluable asset that The Digital Edge offers (and so few others do) and which makes them unique is their ability to use a variety of tools — focused on offline, online and mobile interaction — that allows for near- (and in some cases completely-) instantaneous interaction. When considering ethnographic research in order to uncover what people are thinking and doing, it is vital to use as many methods as possible in order to triangulate the data and hone in on the true meanings. Jenni’s research background makes her a very knowledgeable and very valuable consultant to know! I guess that’s why they poached her!
:-)

This 45 minute interview is a fascinating insight into what goes into planning a successful social media initiative — you would be a fool not to listen! And since I’ll be in Sydney again this week, I promise I’ll do all I can to buy Jenni a coffee, set up the recorder, and produce a much-higher quality discussion on social and market research in this new communication landscape.

You can download and listen to the interview right now
[42mb | 45mins]

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Currently playing: Afterlife – Café Del Mar – Vol 03 – Blue Bar

  • Emily

    Hi Lee,

    Great blog!

    I can’t help myself but comment in response to your discussions with Jenni around advertising agencies being limited in the social media space (due to the short-term campaign nature of much of what we do for our cilents).

    I work in a large agency in Sydney and I’m currently working on 3 long term social media strategies for various clients at the moment, so I’m unsure where that assumption came from?

    Perhaps because our clients tend to be larger blue chip clients (and with that obviously comes conservatism), so I guess any social media strategies tend to take longer to reach the public eye, but we’re definitely aware of the space and we’re definitely talking to our clients about the invaluable opportunities opening up through social media.

    What I’m seeing over the last year is actually heightened interest coming from our clients as well, which is fantastic for the digital industry.

  • Emily

    Hi Lee,

    Great blog!

    I can’t help myself but comment in response to your discussions with Jenni around advertising agencies being limited in the social media space (due to the short-term campaign nature of much of what we do for our cilents).

    I work in a large agency in Sydney and I’m currently working on 3 long term social media strategies for various clients at the moment, so I’m unsure where that assumption came from?

    Perhaps because our clients tend to be larger blue chip clients (and with that obviously comes conservatism), so I guess any social media strategies tend to take longer to reach the public eye, but we’re definitely aware of the space and we’re definitely talking to our clients about the invaluable opportunities opening up through social media.

    What I’m seeing over the last year is actually heightened interest coming from our clients as well, which is fantastic for the digital industry.

  • http://www.thedigitaledge.com.au/ Jenni Beattie – Online Researc

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your comments above. It is great news that indeed advertising agencies are moving more into this territory beneficial for clients and the industry as a whole.

    Perhaps you will be the next in Lee’s podcast series as I would love to find out more about the work! and how the agencies are embracing the new marketing landscape.

    Cheers

    Jen

  • http://www.thedigitaledge.com.au/ Jenni Beattie – Online Research Manager

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your comments above. It is great news that indeed advertising agencies are moving more into this territory beneficial for clients and the industry as a whole.

    Perhaps you will be the next in Lee’s podcast series as I would love to find out more about the work! and how the agencies are embracing the new marketing landscape.

    Cheers

    Jen

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day Emily,

    Thanks for commenting on this post!

    My apologies for taking a bit of time to reply: I’ve been flat out.

    I guess my assumptions about the differences between, say, advertising agencies, and more traditional pr agencies are based on experience.

    For example, most of the ad/marcomms agencies I’ve been involved with have been fabulous at the ‘visual creative’ stuff, but not so great at the longer-term ‘relationship’ stuff: either with the target public or the client.

    Similarly, my experience of pr agencies has been that they aren’t necessarily well-skilled and well-versed in the powerful and influential nuances of great visual design, but much better at ensuring that ‘relationships’ are grown and maintained.

    As an example of the ‘visually creative: good but relationship: bad’ approach of marcomms agencies, there is one agency I know that has a flash-built landing page. Even a limited amount of time spent with users and usability experts will confirm that flash-built landing pages are truly detested by a large chunk of the population, including me for the following reason: I cannot view them on my hiptop browser, nor can I bypass the landing page to get to ‘pure’ html. So I cannot find out more about the agency because I cannot get past their landing page — frustrating or what?!

    I spend a lot of time on the road — visiting clients, meeting colleagues in coffee shops, etc., — and so my light and friendly hiptop slide is my ‘road warrior’ tool of choice.

    I also agree with you that the interest in Social Media and Social Marketing is growing from Business Australia, which is good for all of us! There is certainly enough ‘space’ for all types of agencies.

    My own, perhaps naive, hope is that agencies concentrate on their core competencies and don’t try to ‘add value’ by tacking on ‘features and benefits’ for which they are less than adequately trained. I hope that partnerships are formed between pr and marcomms agencies so that the best of both worlds — the visual creative and the relationship creative — can be co-joined to best serve Business Australia, our clients and thus grow the reputation, relationships and stature of agencies, of consultants AND, most importantly, of this new communication landscape.

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day Emily,

    Thanks for commenting on this post!

    My apologies for taking a bit of time to reply: I’ve been flat out.

    I guess my assumptions about the differences between, say, advertising agencies, and more traditional pr agencies are based on experience.

    For example, most of the ad/marcomms agencies I’ve been involved with have been fabulous at the ‘visual creative’ stuff, but not so great at the longer-term ‘relationship’ stuff: either with the target public or the client.

    Similarly, my experience of pr agencies has been that they aren’t necessarily well-skilled and well-versed in the powerful and influential nuances of great visual design, but much better at ensuring that ‘relationships’ are grown and maintained.

    As an example of the ‘visually creative: good but relationship: bad’ approach of marcomms agencies, there is one agency I know that has a flash-built landing page. Even a limited amount of time spent with users and usability experts will confirm that flash-built landing pages are truly detested by a large chunk of the population, including me for the following reason: I cannot view them on my hiptop browser, nor can I bypass the landing page to get to ‘pure’ html. So I cannot find out more about the agency because I cannot get past their landing page — frustrating or what?!

    I spend a lot of time on the road — visiting clients, meeting colleagues in coffee shops, etc., — and so my light and friendly hiptop slide is my ‘road warrior’ tool of choice.

    I also agree with you that the interest in Social Media and Social Marketing is growing from Business Australia, which is good for all of us! There is certainly enough ‘space’ for all types of agencies.

    My own, perhaps naive, hope is that agencies concentrate on their core competencies and don’t try to ‘add value’ by tacking on ‘features and benefits’ for which they are less than adequately trained. I hope that partnerships are formed between pr and marcomms agencies so that the best of both worlds — the visual creative and the relationship creative — can be co-joined to best serve Business Australia, our clients and thus grow the reputation, relationships and stature of agencies, of consultants AND, most importantly, of this new communication landscape.

  • Emily

    Hi Lee,

    It depends which type of ad/marcomms agency you’re talking about as every agency has different core competencies so you can’t bundle them all into one pot. Some specialise in brand development, some specialise in broadcast media, some are digital and/or direct agencies, some specialise in content development, some in social media or strategic planning, some are mobile specialists or event management or experiential media specialists and so on. I’d be interested to know which ones you’ve worked with, but I guess you can’t publish it here?!

    Within relationship management, PR agencies have expertise in public or media relations obviously whereas advertising agencies (direct or digital agencies) have expertise in customer relationship management for their clients. These relationship management databases are some of the largest in the country, often with over a million members.

    Regarding agencies forming partnerships with PR firms, every agency I’ve worked at works very closely with their PR arm, which is internal, which works really well.

    Oh! & don’t hold the agency websites against them – most agency digital studios are so under the pump, a website redesign can be sidelined for months while more urgent client work is delivered (ours has been under redevelopment for 12mnths & will be out of date by the time it launches, so will go straight into redevelopment as soon as the new one launches)! But I agree with you that Flash-heavy agency websites are often frustrating when they slow you down from getting to the information you want.

  • Emily

    Hi Lee,

    It depends which type of ad/marcomms agency you’re talking about as every agency has different core competencies so you can’t bundle them all into one pot. Some specialise in brand development, some specialise in broadcast media, some are digital and/or direct agencies, some specialise in content development, some in social media or strategic planning, some are mobile specialists or event management or experiential media specialists and so on. I’d be interested to know which ones you’ve worked with, but I guess you can’t publish it here?!

    Within relationship management, PR agencies have expertise in public or media relations obviously whereas advertising agencies (direct or digital agencies) have expertise in customer relationship management for their clients. These relationship management databases are some of the largest in the country, often with over a million members.

    Regarding agencies forming partnerships with PR firms, every agency I’ve worked at works very closely with their PR arm, which is internal, which works really well.

    Oh! & don’t hold the agency websites against them – most agency digital studios are so under the pump, a website redesign can be sidelined for months while more urgent client work is delivered (ours has been under redevelopment for 12mnths & will be out of date by the time it launches, so will go straight into redevelopment as soon as the new one launches)! But I agree with you that Flash-heavy agency websites are often frustrating when they slow you down from getting to the information you want.

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