November 28, 2009

Connecting The Dots

How Long Has It Been?

Sixteen years ago, I was programming a radio station and I met a guy who was running a music magazine.

Apparently I treated him well (whew!) because three years ago he contacted me via Facebook in his current position of world renowed digital marketing blogger, president of a digital media agency and published author.

Building The Relationship

We have kept in touch, grabbed a meal a couple of times and shared a few ideas back and forth. Last April, he invited me to something called a Geek Dinner. It was a collection of people who had met online and enjoyed talking about digital media and marketing and communications and social networking.

Nice To Meet You. Now What?

During that dinner I met a few very cool people. Over the following few months we stayed in touch, exchanged emails and in some cases met in person and did some work together. We have kept in touch.

Among other client work, I recently became an associate at a public sector marketing company through someone I met that night. Over and above the work with him, he has introduced me to another client. Because of a meeting with someone sixteen years ago, I met someone who asked me to join their agency who in-turn introduced me to another client.

We Met Online

A few weeks ago, I attended an event with the United Way called Schmoozefest and realized that there were twenty of us who had all somehow met each other online. We lived in the same city but social media brought us together faster than any other networking means.

The World Is Small

I can look at almost every project I'm involved with right now and they point to connections made through digital social networks.

But Don't Be Fooled...

The websites simply connect us, the ability to contribute to a relationship is where the work begins.

The next time you wonder if social media – which is code for human networking – works, you might want to go back and see if you can connect the dots. And the good news, you can start anytime.

Do you think it’ll work?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 26, 2009

Social Media | Beyond Pictures and Profiles

Mediums Socialized.

Three quarters of North Americans have Internet access. Six hundred million are online in Asia. The Internet is growing 18% annually.

Social Media has become a viable opportunity in which to weave business and careers.

Big stinkin' deal. What does that mean to you?

If you're a business owner, there are measurable statistics about your industry, offering, products, company and the conversations people are having right now that are worthy of paying attention to or you could be leaving opportunities on the keyboard.

Payoff NOW!

The concern that social media may be a waste of your time, energy, resources and sweat equity seems to be a common one. However, if you could have a better sense of the landscape, wouldn't you want to know about it?

As return on investment and metrics are tossed around like chips at the blackjack table, the finesse and care needed to understand behavior is even more important.

It's a buyer's market.

You are a customer and a facilitator. You are in charge of your own online environment. You are not in charge of mine or your customers' experience.

This is not a niche or a boutique.

Social Media has been around since we began carving images on cave walls.

With our technological advancements, these actions have given us the ability to share instantaneously with any one of the 1.6 billion other humans online.

User experience is not just a slick phrase developed by the ICT community. These are the creature comforts we want in order to create the atmosphere best suited for our personal or business needs. We want to be able to create our own surroundings. We can and we do.

Social media is not a campaign or an add-on to your existing business plan, it must be part of it. It is also not simply a collection of websites.

Patience and commitment are required or there is no need to bother. If you are in search of an absolute sure thing that will raise your bottom line with minimal effort, buy a lottery ticket and cross your fingers.

How you can better connect with your customers on their terms on a human level? How have your competitors already done so?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 24, 2009

Living By Numbers

Calculate the bill, figure out the cost and tally the amount.

Revenue down, lower employee count, enhance the bottom line.

Friends and followers are published for all to see.

The race is on and the top three get a medal.

Two minutes left, score tied, first place on the line.

A higher grade point average will mean a larger scholarship.

One more deal, quota made.

Working into the wee hours, four more steps to top the corporate ladder.

One more day and one more dollar.

All too often we seem to gauge our lives solely by numbers. For most, they are the largest measurement of success.

Does anyone really know why?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 21, 2009

Why Stuck?

This post was originally published as a guest contribution
on Liz Strauss' Successful Blog.

We All Have Choices

Recently, a friend sent me a copy of Rick Butts’ e-book 7 Choices. In it, Rick talks about the time we work on us versus the time we work on what we do or getting customers or what we can offer. In the age of social networking, we can all create profiles and exchange ideas.

How much time do we spend on better understanding ourselves?

In 1943, Abraham Maslow outlined our need to belong in his paper Hierarchy of Needs. No matter your age or situation, you want your life to have purpose and passion. That is the core of why we may get stuck – we aren’t following either. We haven’t deciphered who we are and what drives our passion. All too often we seek external confirmation.

Internet Friends

If you are immersed in social media and haven’t taken a moment to think of all the wonderful people you would not have met otherwise you are missing the essential part of the process. In my case, I met Liz Strauss and Kathryn Jennex and over the course of two years we all got to know each other.

A few tweets turned in to some emails and phone calls then in to actual work. I look forward to new projects with them in 2010. My friend Lisa Hickey calls it accelerated serendipity.

We're In This Together

I was at an event last week and realized that the twenty or so people I was sitting with had all met online. We shared similar sensibilities, we found trust with each other and we want each other to be happy and do well.

So why do we get stuck? Is it because no one will help us realize our passion and purpose? Or is it that we haven’t discovered it inside us in order to tell people what we want?

Three years ago, a friend gave me a copy of The Secret. I watched the first half of the film with my closed mind and arms folded and the second half taking notes.

Notes Are Not Enough

We need action and focus. We are human. We get stuck. We fall into the same traps of listening to the opinions of naysayers. We fail to listen to that pang in deep in our gut. If you haven't experience this, count yourself very fortunate. That is extremely rare.

I was speaking with a client the other day about Ellen DeGeneres. She endured three years of unanswered phone calls. No one wanted to hire her and she was running out of money. She was stuck. She then got the idea of doing her own talk show. The studios weren’t falling over themselves to help her realize her dream.

But Ellen made it happen and built it into one of the most popular shows on television. It took work and persistence. She did it because she found out who she was and got unstuck.

Help Is On The Way

Does this mean we shouldn’t discover people we trust to help us navigate this journey? Ask the most successful people on the planet if they get stuck and you will get a resounding – YES!

None of us is immune. But if someone asks you to help them get unstuck, forget their resume or the past and listen to what they need. If you do, magic will happen for both of you.

Thanks Liz!

marketing and social media strategy

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November 19, 2009

The Social Economy

Imagine the Internet is your investment portfolio.

There are an estimated 1.7 billion people online. That’s one quarter of the world’s population.

There are over 400 million in Asia with Internet access and three quarters of North Americans are online.

We're Rich! We're Rich!

The number of people on the Internet is increasing at just shy of 20% annually. Venture capitalists are frothing over these numbers and it is the reason why some of our favorite social channels receive more funding.

Media are/is Mediums.

We can officially stop making the distinction between "traditional" media (print, radio, television, outdoor/transit) and digital media. What is paramount is our ability to navigate all of the available mediums as well as the communication between companies and customers.

A flag and an anthem.

With a population of over 300 million, Facebook would be the fourth largest country on the planet where 1.6 billion pieces of content is exchanged every day.

Blogger, Digg, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter get over 900 million daily visitors. We can safely put the apples and oranges away and call it all media and mainstream.

Social Media are the mediums in which we socialize.

We all too often forget what it’s like on the other side of the counter. We are all customers and we are all service providers. But the connection often breaks down when discussions surround building online communities with a business application.

If you could see a 20 point increase each year, would you be interested?

If giving up control to your customers would increase their spend, are you still reading?

Are you willing to let your customers have the ability to have actual direct contact with you?

Are you ready to put some time and resources and sweat equity into your Internet portfolio?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 15, 2009

Reading The Room

Years ago I worked with a sales guy who used to constantly remind me to “read the room”. He felt it was paramount that he knew the dress code of each meeting, who was attending and how the client’s pain was going to be cured.

Room? What Room?

The theory of reading the room or knowing your audience seeps into all that we do. It becomes especially tricky through the digital channels we reside.

Mitch Joel recently wrote a post about the difficulty of scaling your personal brand.

If you build a community then tell that community you don’t have time for them, how long will members remain?

The challenge is that we often want to share information but can’t give it all away for free. Time and money make for a delicate dance.

Defining The Room

I was speaking with a colleague recently who is a VP at one of the major U.S. cellular companies and he shared with me the story of dealing with one of his largest clients. This six figure client owns a big construction company whose world does not include a sales guy in a suit.

My buddy’s boss wanted to meet this client. So he suggested he'd pick him up on the way to the meeting. As suspected, the boss was in need of a wardrobe change. He told him to lose the suit and tie clip in favor of jeans and a golf shirt.

The meeting was held at a construction site - the client’s room - and the language was a tad looser than some would expect.

It Ain't About You

The boss was shocked by the repeated expletives by both men. The client said that his team was very happy with their new digital devices and all was going well. My buddy's boss learned a lesson about clients and suits. Thanks Chuck for sharing that story!

If we pay attention we can often figure out who we want to engage and those we don't, after we read the room.

Is it important to 'read the room'?
What are your thoughts?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 11, 2009

Remember | Never Forget

Remember those who have fought with their most precious gift of all.

Remember fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, cousins and friends who did not come back and have the time to cherish the freedoms we enjoy.

Remember that our problems pale in comparison.

Remember women and men who continue to defend our right to say and do what we want.

Remember those who helped shape our ideals and freedom.

Remember souls who give us hope and perspective
to what is really important.

Remember to say...

Thank You

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November 9, 2009

Time Off

I took two days off from social media and it was awesome.

I kept up with news and sports and info but didn’t participate in the online conversation and something strange happened...

The sun still came up this morning.

Time off gives us perspective, it reboots our hard drives and makes us realize that all too often we need to walk away, go outside and enjoy life.

When was your last online vacation?

marketing and social media strategy

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November 4, 2009

Silence May Not Be Golden

Have you ever been in a business meeting where there have been people who have said nothing? Of course. If you know me, you know I'm never that guy. Ha!

They may quietly take notes, smile and seem to be paying attention.

They usually are, but as someone who is never short on conversation I find these people amazing yet puzzling.

Is it their choice to say nothing?
With strong personalities present, are they afraid to contribute?

It’s one thing to be polite and pay attention to a presentation but this is pointed at those who rarely if ever utter one word in any meeting. Perhaps you should wonder why they are in the meeting in the place or more importantly whether there is a deeper issue. Are great ideas being lost in the back of the room?

Some people prefer not to lead discussions or speak with ease and that’s okay. But in a co-creative workspace, it requires contribution from everyone.

It's important to decipher the reasons why they remain silent.

A common perpetrator is the highest ranking official in the room who makes it clear they are not interested in ideas or a democratic creative process.

I know this is shocking but some managers actually do not want others’ opinions. In other cases - though rare - those in management positions do not possess the skills or training to actually coach people.

Some people are shy, some are polite and some are respectful of authority. Some feel the only way to survive these types of situations is to sit quietly, nod and take notes.

Do you know the real reason for their silence?

Helping you create your best business
marketing and social media strategy.

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November 2, 2009

Alternative and Mainstream Converge

I spent many happy years working with musicians and their music. I loved it. Some still know me as a former radio guy but there is a much deeper story.

Below The Surface

Radio – like every industry – has much more under the surface than those outside comprehend.

Overseeing a radio station requires regular business stuff like budgets and talent development; promotional duties such as website management and database marketing; and external oversight on such items as advertising and event management.

Turn It Up

As part of my radio career, I worked in what is called the alternative rock format at two stations. Alternative is a distinction that carries as much negative connotation as positive reinforcement.

The core of alternative music fans are rarely happy once a band gains even a modicum of success while those unfamiliar with the genre think it’s full of strange people with purple hair.

It's important to note that both alternative radio stations continue to be successful measured against mainstream metrics. And perhaps with the exception of one year at Hallowe'en, I've never found the need to dye my hair purple. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I like purple and I digress.

Can you be cutting edge and mainstream at the same time?

In 1988, Michael Trent Reznor formed an industrial rock band called Nine Inch Nails - no doubt you’ve heard of them. Twenty-one years later they have sold millions of albums, CDs and downloads, played in front of massive festival and stadium crowds and won Grammy Awards.

Despite this worldwide success, Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor remain categorized as alternative not mainstream.

When NiN formed, there wasn’t the long list of social networking channels we have now. Today, Reznor has over 600,000 followers to his personal Twitter account and his band is well represented through their YouTube and Flickr spaces.

Imagine. Create. Share.

In 2006, Jack Dorsey was looking for something that would kick start a creative slump for his company Odeo. His original idea was to create a conversation space through sms called

Today, Jack and his partners Biz Stone and Evan Williams, seventy-five employees in a modest San Francisco building and millions in venture capital have grown Twitter to one of the fastest growing web portals in the world with millions of regular users.

From 1975 to 2009, Microsoft has grown from an idea Paul Allen and William Gates had to develop software for the microcomputer to over 90,000 employees in 100 countries and over $58 Billion in annual revenue.

So is Twitter the alternative and Microsoft the mainstream?

Whether you a musician and producer of industrial music, three geeks from Silicon Valley or the world’s largest software manufacturer, you have to start with an idea.

It may be a concept yet to be adopted by anyone else, it could be quite different than the current mainstream thought, but if it’s a good one the audience will discover it.

At that point, will it really matter what label we put on it?

Helping you create your best business,
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