When a project ends, good companies do post-mortems to determine what worked, what didn’t to help them improve institutionally, while identifying possible opportunities created, and mitigating any risks exposed. Great companies do this and they do it in a way that the rest of us can benefit as well. Such is the case of two excellent post Olympics assessments from Lenovo.
First off, I’ve got to call attention to Esteban Panzeri’ post “End of Madness Recap” from his blog, “The Challenge”. Since I spend a lot of time in the trenches shoveling bits and bytes around, I naturally gravitate to the folks that turn the dreams into reality, and on this project, Esteban was apparently the guy.
He comes up with an excellent list of lessons learned and among them:
- Ideas will flow like rivers, it is execution that matters
- One must learn to focus and discard things quickly
- Anything can be done
- Outsourced stuff does not always work as it should
- Distributed content is the future
“Ideas will flow like rivers, it is execution that matters” – a line I am printing out in 72 point type to hang in my office. Yes, indeed, ideas are important and without them, there is no innovation, but too many of us forget that at some point we need to stop talking a start doing. Only a select few ever truly learn this lesson.
I have a friend who shall remain nameless and his big dream is to have one of his inventions manufactured. The problem is, he feels that by merely coming up with the idea, his work is done. The real work only begins at with the idea. As Winston Churchill said at the end of the Battle of Britain: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
David Churbuck, Senior VP of Web Marketing at Lenovo posted “And for my next trick … Farewell to the Olympics” which offers an excellent overview of the project, and particularly the metrics they used to judge success/failure of the project:
Some metric goals were set, all of them were exceeded. I would argue that raw statistical measures are not the way to gauge a social media marketing program – that there is a number of softer metrics which need to be taken into account.
First are the gross tonnage metrics – how many people saw it, how many impressions, how many times, etc.
Second is the promotional model – how did we market the existence of this program and make people aware that it existed?
Third is engagement – did the program capture the users’ attention and compel them to interact with the athletes? With Lenovo?
Fourth is public relations and perception – did the program cast Lenovo in the right light? I would argue that given the controversial build up of issues leading up to these Games, that mitigating the censorship issue was a big thing for a company with deep China ties. No, Lenovo does not set political policies about Internet openness in China. Nor should we. But I believe our support and enablement of this program should be regarded as Lenovo’s commitment to principles such as freedom of speech and expression. To raise the flag a little bit, if we’re marketing our IdeaPads to consumers as a product that enables them to create and share their ideas, then putting those same products in the hands of athletes to create and share their experiences with the world would seem to be a perfect match.
I can speak for engagement – I found myself at the summergames.lenovo.com site repeatedly every day looking for new content, even more than I used the NBC site to grab results. I’m not normally glued to my seat for Olympics, so it worked in that regard for me.
Additionally, I can say they did get prime placement on Cycling.com and Boating.com where I ran their syndicated feeds for those sports. Both gave us traffic spikes, and in the case of boating.com, it was the only change from either before or after the Olympics that was made on our side.
Take the time to read both Esteban and David’s posts, then try doing a search and you’ll find there are more assessments out there from others on the team. None have given up any real insider information, but all help us better understand the inner workings of online marketing in the social media and social networking age.
(Update: David Churbuck posted his Folio slide deck which really defines Geek Marketing on his blog after I posted here. If you’re a marketer, or deal with marketers, it’s a must read.)