I think we can safely say that the last two week have been quite lively for Alterian Content Manager, as after an incubation with partners, customers and analysts we took our product strategy and roadmap to the social web. I’ve tweeted, interviewed, commented, posted and now (finally) blogged our message to the CMS community – I say “we took” but @janusboye certainly had a hand in igniting it.

Alright, I admit we didn’t quite plan it this way – but that’s the lesson of the new social media powered PR – you can’t always control it and it’s often a test of reactions – of ensuring you have the right tools, people and message to do that.

In this post (as I tend to on this blog) I’ll be focusing on my experience – you can read our official news release on Alterian Content Manager 7, it’ll give you some background as what I am going to ramble on about here.

Anyway, Tuesday a rumour is going around, I get a couple of DM’s – and Janus mischievously tweets:

sources tell that Alterian will soon discontinue Immediacy / Alterian CM Corp. Edition – wondering if customers will enjoy the sunset

Ah… not entirely true, but now it’s out there – so strap yourselves in folks – you’re launching a product strategy on social media!

The vigilant Irina Guseva of CMSWire clearly had her ear to the ground and grabbed me for an exclusive interview and in no time at all (how does she do that so fast?)  published – Alterian Drops Immediacy, Morello Web CMS Brands.

In the meantime – and this demonstrates the diversity of this CMS community – there’s a CMS Haiku competition going on – Jon Marks (@mcboof) is offering free beer to the winners (yes folks, the stakes are raised, this isn’t about product marketing any more, it’s about beer) – he dares me to pitch in:

@iantruscott  Now that @irina_guseva  has broken the news (http://bit.ly/b8RQlO), can’t you re-break it in #cmshaikuform?

I quickly scan through the social media bibles; “Groundswell”, “Here Comes Everybody”, Jeremiah Owyang’s entire blog archive – no mention of haiku as a required skill of today’s social media marketer.

In truth, I admit, I did have to Google how exactly to write haiku – more on my first poetic foray later.

The next day starts with what we eventually agree was a Twitter interview (no doubt someone calls these “twinterviews”) by James Hoskins (@JamesHoskins) – long time social media agent provocateur – especially when it comes to all things CMS and Alterian.

Unfortunately it’s difficult to find this conversation, James and I didn’t hashtag it and twitter doesn’t lend itself to a Q & A structure, unless you want to read it backwards through replies – and I haven’t really got room for it all here. We have however ensured that the excellent points James has made are in our official communications.

This goes on all day and some of the next, with other folks now pitching in with questions – at the end, James pays me a huge compliment:

#followfriday @iantruscott  – raising the bar for other WCM vendor VPs in openness and engagement #alterian

Meanwhile – Adriaan Bloem (@AdriaanBloem) of CMSWatch got in touch, for a quick briefing, we have a positive chat and he quickly knocks up this blog post – provocatively titled “Alterian Drops Immediacy” and written in the house style, of a father warning his daughters to watch out for those vendor types, with their high-falutin’ words and fancy charming ways – nothing wrong with that – but please read my (admittedly lengthy) comment response.

Crikey.. now I’ve got Philippe Parker (@proops) encouraging me to haiku.

@IanTruscott impressed you can explain your strategy in #140 – now please do it as a #cmshaiku

So.. double dared… here goes.

C M C or E / Here me Alterian say / Autumn is Future

Which surprisingly made it to the short list and the community got to vote – it got a respectable 3rd, but no beer. (I could protest – the haiku rules I play by said it needed to include a season!).

So folks, that’s it. A few days in the life of product marketing via social media. It was fun – demonstrates that today marketing and PR is as much about listening and reacting as it is about planned strategies. It also sparked off a whole bunch of interesting conversations I’ve had with clients and partners since.

..and to whoever whispered that rumour in Janus Boye’s ear – I would genuinely like to thank you.

We have been executing a communication plan that started last year with our customer and partner events and we intend that the program will reach all of our customers and partners in the next few weeks. If you have questions about our strategy, then please contact me directly (ian.truscott@alterian.com), or your Alterian representative.