Your whole company is in marketing – Bernie Borges interview
Updated on July 16th, 2013
Bernie Borges, Social Business Evangelist, is an author, speaker and trainer. He’s also the CEO of Find and Convert and has more than 20 years experience in the software and internet industry in sales and marketing leadership roles underpinning his knowledge, experience and advice.
As a leading authority on internet and social media marketing strategies, it was great to talk to him and get some tips for our readers.
Adam Franklin: Hi. It’s Adam Franklin here, and I’m here with Bernie Borges, the CEO of the Find and Convert digital agency. He runs the Find and Convert podcast and is the author of “Marketing 2.0.” Welcome Bernie.
Bernie Borges: Thanks, Adam. Great to be here.
Adam Franklin: Thank you. Now, you’re on the inbound marketing train and I really follow what you’ve been doing. One of the questions I’ve got for you is regarding social businesses: I love the concept of them, but what actually is a social business, and how can you tell them apart from people who just pretend to be social?
Bernie Borges: Sure. Let me see if I have your question correct because our connection is a little bit choppy. So you’re asking me, How do I define social business? Is that the gist of the question?
Adam Franklin: Yeah.
“How do I define ‘social business’?”
Bernie Borges: Okay. I have a long answer and I have a short answer. So I’ll give the abbreviated one, and then I’m sure we’ll have some conversation around it. The short answer is, really it’s an organisation (it could be for-profit or not-for-profit) that’s very mature in how they use social. And by ‘mature’ I mean that the executives in the organisation understand that it’s really important for subject matter experts – not just the marketing department – but subject matter experts, domain experts, to participate in the marketing process. In fact, I have an expression I’ve written about this: Marketing is not a department in a social business. The marketing department provides vision, tools and processes, and then the executives and the culture in that business really are such that the domain experts – out in the rank and file among the employees – are encouraged and invited and motivated to contribute content. And then marketing just should make it as easy as possible and as painless as possible, so that functionally the whole business is social.
Marketing is not a department in a social business.
Adam Franklin: Now, I love the idea of an entire company being social. I mean, the marketing department normally makes up a very small percentage of the whole organisation and to actually magnify that – the marketing power – across the whole organisation, is a hugely powerful concept. Now, what does it take to transition from, I guess, the traditional business sense of the marketing department, using an agency to create, I guess, what we would call interruption marketing, and making that transition to inbound marketing, where the entire company is in content creation and inbound marketing?
Executives need to buy-in to the process
Bernie Borges: Yeah, Adam, that transition really begins with a culture, a buy- in, if you will, from the executives in the business. So the executives need to really, not only buy-in, and by buy-in I don’t mean that they should just say, “Yeah, Adam, if you’re the marketing director, go ahead and use social media.” That’s not buy-in. The executives really need to buy-in to the culture of subject matter experts being a part of the marketing process. So marketing really shifts from a part of the company that’s just always creating campaigns – and I’m not saying campaigns are bad in a social business – but they shift from not just doing that (and just that little world of marketing) to really being thought leaders and sort of a catalyst for the entire organisation to provide that organisation with things like an editorial calendar and processes and tools that allow the subject matter experts to really participate, and also provides inspiration and motivation for those subject matter experts to really get engaged in the process. So that inspiration and that motivation that I speak of, Adam, is one that where employees really should want to participate. They should get recognition for their participation, not only in the marketplace, because that’s going to happen naturally, but internally, culturally, they should get recognised for that.
So it’s really this whole mindset shift, and I really began talking about that in my book, “Marketing 2.0.” Although I will admit, in my book I don’t use the phrase ‘social business’. Social business is relatively new, like in the last maybe year or so, give or take. It’s that kind of new from the standpoint of a term that’s being embraced now.
Adam Franklin: Okay. So once you’ve got executive buy-in, then… I know a lot of subject matter experts within organisations, they don’t necessarily consider themselves natural writers, natural content creators. How do you actually provide that recognition, or how do you encourage them and get them to create the content that is required to have the whole organisation as your marketing team?
Make it easy for the employee to participate
Bernie Borges: Well, Adam, if you remember a moment ago I said that the marketing department, one of the things that they should do, one of their responsibilities in a social business is to make it as easy as possible for the employee to participate. So here’s what it might look like: Let’s say I’m in the marketing department for a company and you’re a subject matter expert. Okay? And you’re not even in the same office as I am. You’re in a different office, but you have expertise in a certain area. For me, in marketing, I don’t have the expertise that you have. Maybe you’re an engineer or, in healthcare, you’re a healthcare professional. So you have the expertise. So for me to make it real easy for you, Adam, I’m going to schedule a call, like this, and I’m going to ask you a few questions. I’ll tell you ahead of time. We’ll exchange some emails ahead of time. We’re going to agree on the topic, and I’m going to interview you for about 30 minutes, similar to this, and I’m going to record that interview.
From that interview recording, I’m going to create at least one video. More than likely I’m going to slice it up. I’m going to segment it up into two or three, or even four videos. Then I’m going to have someone transcribe it into a written format, and I’m going to create at least one blog post, maybe two or three blog posts. Okay? Maybe we’ll create one white paper around it. We’ll extract the audio out of that and create an audio podcast out of that. Then all of that content will go back to you for review and approval to make sure that we captured it accurately and really captured the spirit of what you contributed. So all I really needed from you was 30 minutes of your time, and then we’re doing – we, the marketing department – are doing the heavy lifting.
Adam Franklin: I absolutely love that idea, Bernie. That’s a fantastic revelation. I’m sure our readers and viewers are really going to enjoy that. I love it, how the marketing department is there to extract the information, to deliver it, and to make it, wordsmith it, to polish it up, to edit the videos, and then get the tick of approval from the subject matter expert. That’s really fantastic. I appreciate that. Now, how can people find out more about you Bernie?
Bernie Borges: Well, thank you for asking, Adam. I want to point out, if you notice, I’m wearing orange.
Adam Franklin: I noticed.
Bernie Borges: And the significance of that is that I’m speaking this year at Content Marketing World, in September 2013, and I’m speaking on this topic. Content Marketing World is put on by the Content Marketing Institute, and I know that you recently had Joe Pulizzi on your podcast. Joe has inspired me to wear orange. So I want to make sure he sees this, so that he sees all this orange that I’m wearing. So to get back to your question, the easiest way to find me is to go to my website, FindandConvert.com. Our blog is there at FindandConvert.com/blog. Or certainly anyone can just Google my name, Bernie Borges, that’s B-O-R-G-E-S, and I’m easily found.
Adam Franklin: Well, have a fantastic time at Content Marketing World, and I really appreciate your time today Bernie. Thank you.
Bernie Borges: Thank you, Adam, for having me. I appreciate it.