Attensity Webinar with Ted Rubin

I first started following Ted Rubin a couple of months ago when he was still at e.l.f. cosmetics. Shortly after I started following him, he left e.l.f. and started working for OpenSky. I heard about the webinar that he did with Attensity, but I didn’t have time to catch it until tonight. You can still listen to the webinar (and see the slides) on the Attensity website.

Overall, the webinar was a great insight into what Ted did at e.l.f. and also the OpenSky Project. Ted is a real believer that engagement is the key and you need to consistently be working on building relationships. The OpenSky Project that he’s currently working on is all about relationships. It’s all about small business owners who have a great product but may not have the distribution network linking up with bloggers that have the network and the voice and are looking for ways to make money. Opensky facilities the arrangement and then splits the profits with the blogger. If the blogger doesn’t make money, than neither does OpenSky. Following are my other notes from the webinar.

  • Didn’t want to be the chief marketing officer because he wanted to focus on social media. “It’s all about relationships … and with social media / social marketing and all these scalable platforms it really enables you to do what I love to do much more effectively and that’s build one on one relationships.”
  • e.l.f. case study for social media effectiveness
    • Brand was strictly build on word of mouth marketing
    • Biggest problem wasn’t getting e.l.f. to use social media, it was getting them to put together a strategy
    • “YouTube is probably one of the best mediums out there to get your message out.”
    • The real power of social marketing are the bloggers – democratizing content, spreading the word, they have static content (content that lives there forever and is easy to find), they have a reliable, trustworthy audience
    • Two things that are really important – a) you have to look at the landscape and you have to develop of what you want to accomplish (goals and strategies) and b) you have to experience it yourself.
      • Jeffrey Hazlett and the Mirror Test book – “Set conditions of satisfaction”. If you set what’s going to make people happy in advance, you can reach your goals.
      • CMOs need to be out there doing things themselves – need to personally understand what a RT is, the importance of a hashtag.
    • Understand that every company has a social media presence, whether your producing it or not. There are people out there talking about you.
    • e.l.f. had a social media presence on YouTube of 300-400 videos
      • Ted spent two weeks not sleeping watching all the spider webs of YouTube videos
      • e.l.f. already had the raving fans that were posting videos without receiving any incentives
    • Created the site “ask e.l.f. to get all the user-generated content in one place.
      • People loved the fact that e.l.f. started using their content
    • Built a “spreading the word” engine
      • Had 500+ bloggers in 2009
      • Had 60-80 PR posts a month
      • Facebook fans – 50k+
      • Twitter followers – 50k+
      • New YouTube content from e.l.f. was posted weekly
      • 2.3M+ views of YouTube videos related to e.l.f.
      • 4+ posts on Facebook
      • Sent out partnership announcements to bloggers
      • Built “wish it” feature on Facebook that got 300k impressions
      • Had 400+ blog posts when they launched in Target in November
      • Made use of vloggers (video bloggers)
    • “There’s no better advocate for your brand than a former critic.”
    • “Do not give up traditional PR.” – Traditional marketing and social marketing work hand in hand
    • Social marketing has to come from the C-Suite. You can’t just throw an intern at it.
  • First you have to build an audience then you have to measure and create “reactivity” – You want to get people to take the actions you want them to take. Shouldn’t be about purchasing in the beginning. Should be about getting people to raise their hand (enter contest, RT something).
    • Ted has never used any of the major management tools. Does all of it manually. Keeps track of who is following you, who is RTing your content. Put them in a spreadsheet. Are they continuing to do it over time? Stickyness – Are people paying attention to you.
    • It’s very easy to track where people are coming for your website.
  • Don’t be afraid of throwing out a coupon and seeing it you can generate more sales.
  • Fought management for the first six months to not have it be about sales.
  • You have to engage with your audience – you have to communicate with them, answer their questions, let them know that you’re listening.
  • “Women are social media.” Men talk at each other. Listen, engage, and interact.
  • Is social marketing right for every business? There is a social media presence out there for every company. You need to be part of the conversation. There are companies out there building their entire brands on social marketing (Boy Meets Girl USA). There are a lot of businesses where it’s not going to be a major part of your marketing budget, but it should be a major part of your customer service.
  • OpenSky model
    • Kept hearing questions from blogger about how do people make money from their blog.
    • Relationship Commerce is what they are doing at OpenSky
    • Bloggers have powerful influence over purchase intent – they are building relationships
    • Ways for bloggers to make money don’t pay enough
      • Ad networks undervalue
      • Sponsorships take forever
      • Getting book deal and on TV is PR, not money
      • Affiliate programs kidnap audience
    • Combining media and publishing with commerce
    • Built email marketing right in to OpenSky platform
    • Satisfaction is guaranteed by OpenSky – Returns are guaranteed by OpenSky for 365 days. Returns are exponentially lower than any other commerce site.
    • Blogger and OpenSky split profits 50/50
    • Empowering small business owners to make money and get out there.


  • Are there large companies/professional service companies having success with social media? American Express is having great success. They are launching a credit card strictly with social media. Any large company could have huge success just by using Twitter to grow their network. People are using social media to respond to customer complaints / customer questions on how to use products.
  • Was there any drops in followers on Facebook and Twitter due to the frequency of posting? Ted says that there wasn’t, that they actually increased followers and that it’s a myth that you’ll drop people. “Twitter is like a fast-flowing river.” Ted doesn’t care how harsh a critic is, he still thanks them for their feedback. It’s been successful for Ted to tweet things multiple times. You have different people following you at different times of the day. If you’re putting out good ideas and original content, people want to hear it. (Attensity: knowing your audience should be Task #1.) Ted disagreed about the audience comment. The odds of something seeing the one “important” tweet is really minute, and you have to be willing to put it out multiple times a day.
  • What are the tips for people just starting?
    1. Before you do anything, jump in yourself. Reach out to people. Start building your following. Reveal some of who you are – people like to know who they are dealing with.
    2. Start researching what your competitors is doing. Everyone wants to be doing social marketing, but aren’t willing to devote budget to it. Social marketing is not free. There is a cost in manpower, and it’s not easy. C-Suite needs to have some sort of understanding of what social marketing is about and how much time it takes to do the engagement.

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  • Hi Sue Anne,

    I am so thrilled that you got value out of the webcast! Thanks for covering it!


    Maria, Attensity360