Q&A: Kodak's Jeffrey Hayzlett on Twankers and Kodak's social media presence

June 17, 2009 Meghan Keane

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak's Chief Marketing Officer, is one of the top ten executives that tweet. You can find him on Twitter solo (@jeffreyhayzlett) or in the river of exectweets, where he holds the title of the "most Twittering CMO."

Speaking at the 140 Character Conference (video here), he evangelized about the medium over two days, railed against "Big Ink" (aka. HP) and coined a new term — "twanker."  (He also gave away a few of Kodak's new Zx1 pocket video cameras to audience members while he was at it).

Econsultancy caught up with him to find out how Kodak is using Twitter and what brands are missing out on when they forgo social media as a customer service tool.

What is a Twanker?
A twanker is someone who abuses Twitter. These are people that do things wrong on social media and Twitter, for whatever purpose.

How does Kodak avoid that?
For us, it's about four Es: Engage. Educate. Excite. Evangelize. If I engage with customers, I get better. And people see that. If I can solve a person's problem, then we both get excited. And then I can get them to evangelize. That's the wow factor. Getting millions of people to talk about you.

We have a Chief Blogger (Jenny Cisney). We're the first company to have one of those. We're also looking for a Chief Listening Officer now, who will work as a sort of air traffic controller for Kodak.

People can become an instant brand on Twitter. As a large Fortune company, we can also add to that through our resources.

What are brands missing out on by not using Twitter for customer service purposes?
Marketing people who don't get Twitter, well they're losing engagement. I like to talk about the return on ignoring. People talk about their return on investment, but I think this is just as important. If you're not engaged then you're missing out. Conversations are going on with or without you.

For marketers, it used to be about eyes and ears. Now you need to have hearts and minds. And they're missing out on that.

How is Twitter changing the way that you do business?
We're not your father's Kodak anymore. The worst thing you can say about Kodak is nothing. We want to hear the bitches and the moans and everything else that's going on out there. Twitter and social media gives us the opportunity to engage.

We're also changing our products because of feedback we're getting. The Zx1 is waterproof because mommy bloggers said they would like that feature. Our next camera is also going to have features based on feedback we got on Twitter as well.

How effective is Twitter as a selling tool?
Well, I'm selling all the time. Anytime a customer writes me with a problem, I try to help them. It doesn't matter to me if I'm selling one product at a time or a million. I got someone to buy a camera here yesterday. And that's effective.

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.


The original article was published by eConsultancy on June 17, 2009.

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