Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cahill Blogs

I haven’t spoken to Jim Cahill in a decade. Less than an hour after I posted my recollection about Emerson’s DeltaV process management brand (below), I got a great note from Jim. Today, he is Director of Marketing Communications for the Process Systems and Solutions business unit of Emerson Process Management.

Here’s what’s important to you: Jim started a blog about Emerson technology and solutions. Most of this story is his:

I believe there is a lot of knowledge that is trapped in e-mail inboxes of our experts, and this blog is the first step for us to make this expertise more visible and easier for people to find via search engines like Google.

Jim and Emerson are practicing what I’ve been preaching about the appropriate use of blogging for marketing. So here is the rest of Jim’s tale:

We started the weblog because we believed this would be the best way to showcase the expertise we have here at Emerson. My belief is that marketing “expertise” is very different from marketing products. It requires a more conversational tone; much like how you might assess the capabilities and competence of a roofer after a hailstorm (we’ve had quite a few of these recently!).

Blogs are a great medium for this. They also provide a means for two-way dialog with comments. Among our primary competitors we are the first to be blogging (much like DeltaV was the first of the new breed of digital automation systems).

Emerson Process Experts has been around for a little over two months. It has been discovered by a few of the trade press editors (Gary Mintchell, Walt Boyes) who also blog, and have pointed posts over my way. I've been actively promoting the blog to our global sales force and installed base customers for our systems and solutions customers, and subscribers to our email list. We definitely want to reach process manufacturing professionals, particularly automation engineers and their management.

We are up to around 7000 visitors a month (excluding internal and global Emerson folks). RSS subscriptions are much smaller – in the order around a 100.

Jim and his team have been working to promote the adoption of RSS with an RSS Starter Kit. He discusses some of the issues he thinks are holding RSS adoption back here. The famous PR blogger Steve Rubel even mentioned Emerson’s RSS Starter Kit in one of his posts.

Newsletters have their place in your marketing mix today. But they are awkward to produce – even “Emerson Process Experts” is labor-intensive. They are also a bit old-fashioned, especially if they reflect badly on a position you’ve taken as a “technology” company (whatever your industry).

Think about your external and internal audiences. Determine whether your audiences have access to computers and the Internet. If they don’t, stick with the printed newsletter.

But as Jim Cahill demonstrates, a righteous blog has the potential of replacing your newsletter and reaching out to customers, prospects and employees in ways you never imagined.

Read the blog. Be the blog.

Thanks and a tip of the Hatlo hat to Jim Cahill for all the details.


Jim Cahill said...

Thanks for the kind words, Richard!

Take it easy, Jim

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Update: at an outstanding AMA Tech SIG presentation this AM (9/28/6), we had two speakers from Austin. Jim Cahill [Chief Blogger for] and Deborah Franke [e-Marketing Manager], both of Emerson Process Manangement, spoke about RSS and bringing the Emerson blogs to life. Among other striking points, they were careful to explain just how they and their team managed to shepherd this outstanding effort through the immense corporate structure of an $18 billion company. It took two years!

It was a treat to see Jim again, and to met Deb: real professionals who are on the cutting edge of corporate blogging. Thanks for driving in from the PDRA and speaking to us.

Jim Cahill said...

Hi Richard,

Deb and I had a great time sharing our experiences with RSS and Blogs yesterday! Thank you so much for hooking us up with Geoff's Tech SIG.

If anyone of your readers are interested in viewing the presentation, shoot me an email at:

Take it easy,