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Google’s culture of innovation is widely admired by outsiders.  And it is a key a reason why the company is able to continually recruit some of the brightest young minds in the world.  Google encourages its employees to spend 20% of their time on creative endeavors – a concept it calls “Innovation Time.”  Many of Google’s most popular products including Gmail and Adsense originated from these independent projects. Google executives have stated that 50% of Google’s new product launches have originated from the 20% of free time employees have to pursue these discretionary activities.   I think that marketing executives should embrace a similar principle for the key thought leaders.

Specifically, I recommend the marketing executives allow their primary content creators to invest 20% of their time developing new ideas and experimenting with social media.  Only 1 in 10,000 pieces of content will go viral, which means that you have to experiment with many different channels and themes to arrive at one big hit. In the Web 2.0 world, the concept of “Fail Fast” through trial and error is the best approach to identifying optimal approaches for introducing new ideas into the marketplace.

Encourage your thought leaders to experiment with various social media techniques including:

  • Blogging (e.g. WordPress)
  • Podcasts (e.g. Apple iTunes)
  • Video (e.g. YouTube)
  • Presentations (e.g. SlideShare)
  • Microblogging (e.g. Twitter)
  • Social Networks (e.g. LinkedIn Groups)
  • Product Reviews (e.g.
  • eBooks (e.g. Change This)

And to develop different types of content

  • Commentary on current news and events
  • Original ideas and concepts
  • Predictions for future trends and behaviors

With different formats

  • Interviews with subject matter experts
  • Moderated panels or debates
  • Individual articles or presentations
Steve Keifer

Steve Keifer has led marketing and product management teams at seven different SaaS and cloud providers ranging from venture-backed, early-stage startups to multi-billion, publicly traded companies - including several that experienced hypergrowth, filed IPOs, and reached unicorn status. In Bantrr, Steve shares many of the best practices and lessons learned from building and scaling marketing organizations. Topics include new category creation, brand development, and demand generation.

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