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The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age Hardcover – May 23, 2011
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questions current approaches to influence, and measuring influence, in all aspects of business. (Global Innovation Report, July 2011). thought provoking a lively approach to the mass of material visionary Communication Director
From the Inside Flap
The Business of Influence provides answers to the pressing questions facing everyone in business in this digital age:
- Following the rise and rise of social media, how can we make sense of the noise in our marketplace to help us achieve our objectives and beat our competitors?
- How should the influence processes permeate the organization more systematically and measurably, accruing its practitioners more authority and accountability in the boardroom?
- What big trends must everyone in the business of influence get to grips with?
- Who does this stuff? What traits and skills are demanded of the modern practitioner?
Full of perceptive thought leadership, this book offers a framework to help shape an organization's structural and cultural design. This framework, the Influence Scorecard, builds on the Balanced Scorecard and similar business performance management approaches.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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It takes me a long time to read a book (I'm much better reading articles and posts in my RSS feeds); in fact, I have a number of books on my Amazon Kindle that I still haven't read yet.
When I last saw Philip Sheldrake, at the London offices of the COI, (Center of Information) a few months ago, I had not read his book (felt it would have added to the presentation that day, had I).
Anyway, I decided to make it my priority to read The Business of Influence by Phillip Sheldrake, a little bit at a time, over the period of the last seven weeks.
All of my quotes are from the Kindle edition, which I just finished yesterday, and so I feel that I can review the book.
Influence is defined by Sheldrake as ...
..when we think in a way we wouldn't otherwise have thought, or when we do something we wouldn't otherwise have done. Sheldrake, Philip (2011-05-04).
I look at influence that way too.
Phillip mentions "The fragmentation of media and the increasing resistance of audiences to marketing communications" as arguments for why we need to redefine influence now, although I recall those same issues even in the early 1970's, so I don't think this is a new problem, but it may be amplified by the fragmentation of media messaging via the Internet. Phillip Sheldrake goes on to say...
The definitions of marketing and PR are contentious. They vary, overlap and contradict. (Kindle Locations 519-520).
Fundamentally, I'm interested in finding ways for organizations to perform better - to improve the consistency with which they delight, and learn from, their stakeholders to the advantage of pursuing the vision. (Kindle Locations 589-590). Note: I believe this is the fundamental reason for the book and the underlying argument for it.
I was never satisfied with common PR measurement approaches, or indeed with many other approaches to marketing measurement. They too often appear vague. (Kindle Locations 1135-1136).
I want to write a excellent review for my friend (any real friend, would) with the caveat that I'm not as interested in the future of Integrated Communications, PR or Marketing as he is and yet I realize marketers are a prime constituency of those who buy my book.
One of the things that I noticed between the AMEC grid, which Philip has been helping to contribute to, for example, and Seth Godin's post the other day on Six Questions to Analyze a Website, is how difficult it is to map unstructured social data you can pull out most social analytics platforms to business rules.
I think there is so much work ahead for AMEC and Godin (hope you don't mind my comparing an organization and an individual, together) so as to meaningful map the marketing/communications "concepts" to the actual information that flows to us from Social Media (much as machine language coding from microprocessors needed to be encapsulated in higher languages like C and C++/Pascal, Java, and so on).
Hopefully, The Business of Influence will help build the case for business rules mapping, much as machine language was mapped, so when we put forward a marketing goal or objective, the underlying parts of it (machine language) are automatically "pulled in". Today, that's not the case, though - and we must consider what it takes to make the "join" of data and marketing objectives - something Marcom has totally failed at.
Philip is in a good place to influence some of the necessary mapping needing to take place to make a scorecard actionable, including the Influence Scorecard, something that is adopted in organizations and used to drive business decisions.
Philip said that Marketing and PR are contentious, overlap and contradict and we both fully agree that "IMC is at once an important vision and too often a disappointing experience". (Kindle Locations 575-576).
In my experience, too few marketing and PR teams have solid research capabilities, but this itself is an effect, not a cause - an effect of organizations' inability to optimize resource to best meet the business objectives (Kindle Locations 690-692).
But I want to say something more about this - you can't fix the poor, sloppy and underfunded research capabilities within Marcom firms today just by giving Analysts more grunt work to do - the problem Philip identifies starts way earlier - I see it is a DNA issue, I believe the mission of MARCOM is communications amplification and spin related.
Marcom professionals see Marketing Analytics in this context, as an "add on" that customers are asking for and a revenue generator for their agencies, otherwise, there does not appear to be any real interest in data, for its own sake (compared with Analytics folk, who have a serious dedication to "clean data" and an awareness of what it takes to get that data along with the governance requirement that accompanies it), and little understanding or valuation of marketing data, outside it's potential to generate additional sources of income.
I see the Business of Influence as Sheldrake's intention to establish Influence Mapping into a Balanced Scorecard of it's own (perhaps creating his own chartered "Influence Institute"), if so, the book presents the argument for it (section 183, Kindle version), and definitions of Influence Professionals appear near the end of the book (though it may have been offered more to educate where organizations need to be, than an actual job description).
I think Philip is addressing the cultural/DNA problem, constructively, and trying to reconcile it with the Balanced Scorecard approach....
The author's Influence Scorecard builds on the Kaplan Norton approach, in which success is based on universal management principles: aligning around the critical few things that matter, identifying cause-and-effect relationships that result in desired outcomes, setting measures and targets to drive behaviors, choosing initiatives that close performance gaps, and managing strategy as a process. (Kindle Locations 183-186).
What Sheldrake actually does in this book, is regroup a series of existing business processes and functions into a new grouping/ordering called "influence" and then give it polarity (Influencer or influenced) and from what I can gather and extends the vocabulary further.
The Six Influence Flows(tm) provides a new model for the ways in which the motivating and deterring influence factors go around and come around, addressing every stakeholder - a model that can then inform your organization's structural and cultural design.
The main reason to map out influence flow is to figure out who is responsible for moving the needle it a situation (the What), as least, that's what I make of all of this.
My wish is have Philip, in the next addition of his book and on his websites, prove these "influence maps" work the way he thinks they do; with a few case studies that show examples of organizations having set up Influence Scorecards, what they looked like, and what stakeholders and business owners got out of it.
In fact, come to think of it, it was two years ago, almost to the day, when Philip Sheldrake ran his Influencer Scorecard Summit (which I helped him with) in NYC. At the time, it seemed as if the group who met could not agree on how to create the scorecard, or if anyone was yet ready to do so (at least, that is the impression I walked away with). Maybe, after that, Philip decided to go off and create the model, himself, which led to his book and various other committee work.
After reading his book I feel we need organizations to step up to the plate and build an "Influence Scorecard" to go along with their "Balanced Scorecard" and the book lays the necessary foundation work for it.
We introduce the ethics of analytics, and make the argument that you should invest as much resource into being influenced as you dedicate to influencing others. (Kindle Locations 248-249).
The marketing and PR professions remain relatively unscientific. They are almost the last business disciplines to be transformed by information and communication technologies, and are now going through the same technology-fueled convulsions that accounting, manufacturing, logistics and retail, for example, underwent in previous decades. (Kindle Locations 283-285).
Maybe that's why it's so hard to provide good, truly actionable data Analytics in this setting today, much of what we're seeing, and have seen is hyped information, and I said as much, in my own book.
Philip has pointed out that IMC is one of the last industries to embrace the technological changes, but as he as a foot in both realms, the MARCOM and Analytics, he sees it as a technology issue while I see it as a DNA issue.
Of the Business of Influence, I liked Chapter 4 the most, as it most closely aligns with the material in Social Media Analytics - and Philip, in his own way, covers much of the same ground as I do. Of course, we'll probably never really agree on every point, but that's OK, because we both see the world in our own ways, and those differences are what makes life worth living.
Philip Sheldrake has updated information on the Business of Influence at [..] (a very nice site, by the way).
I recommend Philip Sheldrake's The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age, as a book that can bridge the gap between marketing concepts and business objectives/goals, and it should be required reading for business managers and business consulting firms and agencies.
The Business of Influence is also a great business book to pick up (and I hope you do, as I did), and as Influence and Influencers are much in vogue now, and it will add some of the necessary structure needed to defining how to measure Influence within the Business Context.
At some level we are all in marketing. We all have ideas, products, goods and services that we want to present to others, and influence others towards thinking favourably about us and our products or services. We all want credibility and respect, and a good reputation. We might be doing this in a direct commercial environment, or we may be doing it in an indirect setting of providing a professional service. In professional services, especially if state funded such as most UK medicine and teaching, the commerce is still there, but it is surreptitious, and not advertised. But all of us are trying to influence others to think well about us, and so to value us more highly, so that we can earn more.
The book is well written and direct. The author seems likeable and credible. He is generous in giving credit to others, and even when he disagrees with others he explains why he does so clearly and courteously.
I think his main point is that influence is an important activity, and that everyone in an organisation should be influencing others (staff, colleagues, contractors, customers, even competitor companies) towards defined goals. The important thing is the mission of an organisation- the reasons why it exists- and what it exists to do. The communication of this mission can then be done in many different ways- traditional and paper based, or more modern and internet based- but whichever tool is used should serve the organisation's mission. Often these days multiple tools should be used. The organisation needs to know what it is about and then set its influencing strategies to helping it deliver what it is there to deliver.
Once the organisation knows what it is about then the various tactics of influence can be chosen sensibly - and so come to support the development of the influence the organisation or individual wishes to have. The whole of the organisation is far greater than any one part of the communication and PR tactics.
I think Sheldrake argues well for a unification of companies under a banner of "influence" and "the difference we exist to make is." The various components then come together to help achieve this. But in this book the whole is always greater than any component, and Sheldrake makes clear that relying on fragmented offerings- some marketing here, a bit of pr there, a website wherever, is now a futile and failing strategy.
This book does a good job of bringing together key ideas about influence and how it can be achieved, and so how the value of a company or a person can be increased.
I suspect experts in this field will get more out of this book than I did. Even as an outsider to this field I could see that this book is well written, and describing a sensible strategy that many people and companies can use to influence others fairly. I enjoyed reading this book, and I learned a lot from reading it. I think other readers will do so too.