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Upon a recommendation from our CEO, as well as its location on my “books I really need to read” list has lead to me to Sun-tzu’s “Art of War” — it’s free to download on iBooks, and while I’m not finished yet, it is something I recommend everyone read.

I explain this as I toss in this quote to introduce Mr. Matt Chandler, our Vice President of Advancement.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

Sun-tzu – Chinese general & military strategist (~400 BC)

This is as true in business as it is in war, and it is as true to marketing online as it is to traditional business. Mr. Chandler’s role on our team is to make sure our team and clients have the knowledge to ensure that we are always moving forward, always advancing.

Without further ado, here are five questions with Matt Chandler, Vice President of Advancement for Raidious.

Who are you, where did you come from?

My name is Matt Chandler, and I was born right here in Indianapolis. According to my parents and old family friends, I started talking at five months of age and haven’t stopped since.

I studied elementary education in college, and fell into internet work along the way. I’ve worked for Community Health Network, hosted a late-night free-form radio show, and was an independent concert promoter.

I lived in Brooklyn, NY, for three-and-a-half years and worked as a web manager for NYU Langone Medical Center. After joining Raidious I moved back to Indianapolis in early 2010. I also teach a college class in Web Marketing at the Art Institute of Indianapolis.

I was a music writer for Nuvo Newsweekly and, and I’m a featured guest blogger for Marketing Tech Blog, Social Media Today and My Venture Pad.

What is Advancement?

Advancement is literally the act of moving forward. I’ve always found progress to be better than doing nothing, or even worse, moving backward.

In the business sense, advancement takes a number of forms. I help our clients learn how to work with Raidious, getting them familiar with our processes and platforms, so they can make the most of their relationship with us.

I also help clients learn some of the philosophies and tools of internet marketing, in the form of SocializeU, the training program I created. It includes everything from the nuts-and-bolts of writing for various web platforms to planning and execution of crisis communications.

Advancement is also a process that’s internal to Raidious, in which I quickly onboard new employees and educate them in best practices and the Raidious model. This ensures that every person who works for us produces the best quality work in ways that adhere to our philosophy.

It all boils down to what I call going from strangers to intimates. Along the path from first meeting a potential client to a contracted working relationship, we pass through several steps. At first we are strangers, and through both reactive and proactive means we become acquaintances. As we relate and empathize with each other, we identify business needs and motives, and explore ways to become partners. We then work together to brainstorm solutions and prioritize needs, reaching a deep level of understanding to become intimate.

This process of moving from strangers to intimates is crucial to doing the best work we can for our clients, and is the essence of advancement. It’s the same with clients, with new employees, and even in our personal relationships. Advancement raises the level of analysis from “Who are you?” to “How can we help each other?”

What are you most excited about for 2011?

I’m just excited to see where this business can go. From the beginning to where we are now, we’ve advanced beyond our wildest expectations. We always knew what we were capable of, it was just a matter of demonstrating that to companies.

Now the team has expanded, we’re working with some of the greatest brands in the world, and things only seem to be getting bigger and better every day. I’m proud to be a part of helping form this company, playing an active role in plotting our course. I always say my worst day at Raidious is better than my best day working anywhere else.

We’ve beaten the odds at this point: we’ve survived and thrived as a start-up business. And we’ve done it the way we know is right, under the guidance and examples set by our President and CEO, Taulbee Jackson. This year should prove to be challenging and fun, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.

Why should brands work with Raidious?

Working with Raidious is different than working with anyone else. We develop true relationships with our clients, based on mutual understanding and respect. We are impeccable with our word, delivering exactly what we say we will and beyond.

Every member of our team has a wide range of experience and interests, so we’re able to bring a unique creativity to the process. We’ve all spent a great deal of time working in large organizations, many of which are mired in the traditional ways of conducting business, trying to shoehorn those ideas into the online world. Raidious was formed in part to take only the best of those ideas and reshape them into something totally new and different.

Everything we do is designed for one result: making our clients look good. Obviously we want them to sell more products along the way. But we can turn every single interaction, every piece of content we produce into meaningful, measurable results that translate into dollars. They can justify the financial and human resource budget they spend with us because we tangibly demonstrate the return.

Plus, what we do is hard. Most companies don’t have the experience, the expertise, or the human resource capital available to constantly monitor and moderate what’s being said about them online. They are focused on doing the work that they do, not talking about that work. Who wouldn’t want a team of detail-obsessed workaholics who are dedicated to telling the world how great your brand is working for them?

How can someone jump start their content in a large organization if they don’t have the budget?

You’re either on the bus or off the bus. Saying you’re going to do a little social media or try to produce some content–video, blog, whatever–is like partial nuclear disarmament. You have weapons or you don’t. You’re producing content or you’re not. Adding the task of blogging and tweeting and whatnot to the secretary’s list of things to do isn’t going to cut it.

That being said, there are ways companies can start small and keep things manageable. It requires a commitment from all levels of leadership and management, and expectations have to be reasonable. You only get out of it what you put into it.

If a company truly doesn’t have the resources to engage in a full-on content campaign, at minimum they should have a website that is current and well designed. Make sure it’s search optimized and intuitive. Concentrate on what you want site visitors to do: the call to action. It should be easy for visitors to figure out how to go about buying your products. If they have to guess, they’ll move on to someone else.

Is there one person on your staff who can dedicate a few hours a week to social media? Have them sit down for 15 minutes with every senior leader and every manager and ask them a few questions about the company: its past, its priorities, its plans. Turn that into one 300-word blog post per week. You now have a store of constantly fresh content that will help your search rankings and provide unique, transparent insights to potential customers.

That same person could spend a little time at least setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. A couple of posts per day on those platforms about the company’s activities, some active conversation with followers and fans, and you’ve got a least a minimal presence on the two most crucial social media platforms.

Of course, there’s much more brands could and should be doing. But at the very least having some sort of presence on those owned media platforms–a presence that is updated somewhat regularly and not set up and left to rot–is better than doing absolutely nothing. It’s what today’s customers want and expect, and you’d better be willing to deliver.

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