Monday, December 24, 2012

Not another Blah Blah Post on the Year of Mobile

This has been asked since 2008. It drives me bonkers. Like how the Ad Industry discusses the Ad Agency of the Future every year...since 1975! Instead of a dumb Infographic filled with false claims. Instead of a bunch of hokey stats that mean nothing. Just some easy thoughts to ponder.

So let's look at the state of mobile:

Large smart phone penetration over 50%.

People use their phones for many things these days including shopping.

But depending on your business will determine the value of mobile. 

Small business? Make sure your business is mobile searchable as well as your site mobile formatted.

QR Codes? Great idea but usually I get taken to sites not mobile formatted! And with Siri and Google Voice Search scanning a code could take longer than other methods of finding things.

You sell online? You should make sure you can sell on phones. Tablets btw are just like Laptops you are already set. I bought a gift on Etsy while standing at a Supermarket Deli Counter!

You sell in a store? Make sure you have a response ready when someone says 'I can get this on Amazon cheaper' or make sure your offerings are unique so you have no worries.

Location Based Services? Check-Ins are dead. But hey still be on FourSquare and Yelp! Let people who wish to check in do so and share it. There are other options but I think Auto-Checkins, Geo-Fences, and Push Ads to phones are bad for business if not set up properly.

But people use location enhancements all the time! When I drive using Google GPS I have it set up so I see places to eat along the way. Make sure your business shows up in GPS applications.

Mobile Advertising? People do not click banner ads very often on Mobile. But if you have a reason to show people you exist they aren't a bad way.

Big Brand? Depends on the Brand. What does Mobile do for Coke? Nothing really.A big retailer? Maybe incorporate mobile into a loyalty program so a customer announces they are in the store with their phone so you can customize offers?

Want to build an App? Remember people use maybe 10-30 regularly. Why should they use yours? How can they find yours out of hundreds of thousands? What is the value to the user?

Media Company? Your year of mobile was 2010 when your content via Apps was readable, viewable, watchable, and sharable. Make sure your content is even more easily sharable.

So where does this leave us? Mobile will continue to evolve. Remember the non-marketing use of Smart Phones is what we use phones for. We don't use them to see ads or search for deals as the primary function. We shop, consume media, search, entertain. and guess what the service providers and the phone handset folks don't care about mobile advertising. They just care about you paying a high price for the gear and services.

3 Things Edition 13!

Once again back with 3 incredible reads and thoughts on them (my opinion) from the lovely Gini Dietrich, the dashing Michael Schechter and me....

Inbox Intentions — Shawn Blanc  

Michael on Scaling Back. I’m yet to write this up, but one of the best things I’ve done this month (and likely this year) is assess and adjust my digital usage. I’ve been scaling back and realigning the way I use tools such as email and social media to better fit my life. While I plan to talk more about my approach and where I ended, all I can tell you is that the process has helped me remember what I love most about both. For those who may want to take a moment at the end of the year to determine where things such as email might fit into your own life, Shawn Blanc has assembled the thoughts of several great thinkers while adding a few of his own. Recommended reading for anyone who’s starting to feel the weight of an overloaded inbox and a bloated digital presence. 

Anonymous Hacks the Westboro Baptist Church 

Howie on Internet Power. I find it fascinating groups such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous exist. That the Internet allows the average person or hacker to form groups to balance the power of governments. It is the media's fault hate groups such as Westboro Baptist are known in the world. They don't shoot or steal. They just picket. They have freedom of speech. We all know that for every Westboro or Rush Limbaugh there are 1,000 hate groups or racists. It is great to see people power coming together using the Internet as forces of good (my opinion) who fight for transparency or fairness. Otherwise we are at the mercy of forces beyond us as individuals to do anything to fight the good fight.  

Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me with Martha Stewart  

Gini on Comebacks. No matter how you feel about Martha Stewart, you have to respect the fact that she built an empire around crafts and recipes and homemaker-y things, went to jail for insider trading, and came back to build even more net worth. This is one of the best interviews I've ever heard and it's on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me so you know it's really good (and funny). When she talks about how to get pomegranate seeds out of a pomegranate, you will laugh out loud. 

Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tactics are a Dime a Dozen, Strategy is Priceless

What has really got me blogging again is working with a fairly new client that has unique challenges, but one who has very big potential to be a national powerhouse in their industry. And I like blogging about real life marketing challenges. Look for my guest post on building a Facebook Community coming out soon at Waxing Unlyrical, which also is based on working with this client.

Every business is unique and has their own goals and challenges. My friend Kaarina who is really sharp (read her blog!), did a guest post about Marketing Strategy which really hit home. Most Agencies and Marketers sell you on Tactics. TV advertising is a tactic. A Facebook Page or buying Facebook Ads is a tactic. But having a coherent strategy is what makes a marketer special. It is what brands and Businesses pay big bucks for. You will not find this expertise in a book you pay $10, $20, $30 for or in a Webinar. You can get ideas and you can learn tactics, but is hard to figure out the big picture. Not a lot of people have a big picture view of the world, never mind business.

If you ask me what is a human, I will tell you it is trillions of human and non-human individual cells that combined make your body. Each living in their own world with no idea what the sun or grass or water is like. They all work together so that you can be you. And somehow the electrical currents and nerves allow us to eat, breathe, walk, learn....just like a computer chip operates but at several magnitudes more complex. 

Strategy is choosing the right marketing channels that not only fit your goals but budget. Strategy is timing, when do you execute. Strategy is research and discovery. Strategy is living entity where you try things and sometimes they don't work and you need to change tactics. Strategy is message and coherence. Are all the efforts in all the channels working together. Strategy is matching goals, with tactics, expectations, and budgets. 

Want to know why there are crickets when you ask a Marketer to show you a successful stand alone Social Media Campaign? Because only a handful exist. And you will hear the same ones from a few years back. And they aren't repeatable. Ask though for a Marketing Campaign where Social Media played a valuable supporting role? There are a lot of them.

Finding someone or an Agency that can provide that is priceless. Finding someone or an Agency that can spend your money on tactics? A dime a dozen.

3 Things Edition 12!

Three Things Edition 12 with my cohorts Gini Dietrich and Michael Schecter!

Everything is My Fault  

Michael on Responsibility. Blaming others is easy. It can even be fun. As I type this, I’m blaming Gini for the need to think back through my week attempting to remember what I read in order to pick something for our weekly segment. I mean this whole series was her idea after all. Enjoyable as that may be, this isn’t Gini’s fault, not even a little bit. I committed to doing this with her every week, I enjoy sharing these things, and I forgot to capture ideas for this series as the week went by. So, tempted as I may be to blame Gini for my woes, I can’t. I mean, I can, but I wont. Why? Because earlier in the week Derek Sivers encouraged me to take responsibility, to own that “everything is my fault!” And once I remembered that little tidbit, this week’s “Thing” became clear. 

Patented Book System Writes Books in 20 Minutes  

Howie on Efficiencies. My esteemed colleagues both wrote took on big writing projects in November. On top of that, Gini co-authored a book with Geoff Livingston that she spent like half a year traveling and promoting after spending lord knows how long writing it. All that work. All that time. But they are slow. Books should only take 20 minutes to write. at least that is how long this professor takes to write his books and he has more than 100,000 of them published and listed on Amazon. In the time it took for me to write these two paragraphs he has written and published two books. 

 What Kinds of Stories Drive Engagement? 

Gini on Engagement. Earlier this year, NPR embarked on an experiment. One that would tell them the types of content people respond to best. One that would help them localize their messages, despite their global reach. One that would "beat" the Facebook algorithm so they wouldn't have to pay to reach their more than two million fans. After 10 months, they are ready to share their findings. They discovered there are nine types of content that create the most engagement. I think you'll walk away from reading this with ideas of your own! Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Square Pegs in Round Holes

In Marketing very few agencies can offer it all (one reason clients waste their money). In fact even the mega companies that do offer it all, need to do it with many divisions. So there is a natural tendency when you have a receptive client to force their needs into your offerings. Or to make believe you have the solution internally vs say referring them elsewhere.

In my many years in direct B2B sales I have never once lost a customer that I referred to another company for help. Even when I had to send them directly to a competitor. Customers appreciate the honesty and integrity, and if what you do offer is top notch they will stay around a long time.

I was working on a project for a client that while I did what I was tasked to do, and did it very well, it was  the wrong task and wrong focus. I was not involved in discussions with the client when the work was being proposed. It is possible the wrong people were in those discussions from both my company and the clients company. I did have email exchanges with the client reinforcing the proposed work to assure them the results were going to be. But the work was put on hold and yesterday after 4+ months was in jeopardy.

So I was asked to be in an emergency call to save this work with the CEO of the client. He sent an email to my partner upset and my partner and I had a long talk about it. Then we called him. After hearing his frustrations, I explained the solution options to him. Those solutions probably mean shifting some of the billings from us to external solutions. But they will achieve his business goals and make him happy.

Happy customers mean they are successful, have strong cash flow and revenues, are growing, and thus will stay with you a long time. Too often I hear or read how a business went to an agency thinking they need their help, the Agency sensing money just rubber stamps and forces the clients needs into one of the solutions they offer (Social Media, Digital Advertising, etc) and then fail the client.

In the advertising industry there is significant turn over with agencies. If you get the trade emails you see big companies putting tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in review all the time. Why? Because the Agency that was taking their money tried forcing the Square Peg in their Round Hole. Don't be that Agency.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Three Things, Edition 11

Welcome to the eleventh edition of The Three Things presented by Michael Schechter, GiniDietrich and me! Just a little more than two weeks until Christmas.Wait there is a war on Christmas right? So it is the Judeo-Christian-Pagan Holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice and the days finally getting longer! Hooray for that. Having it get dark at 4pm in Vermont limits my suntanning time!

A Quiet Reflection on Failure, Part I | David Seah
Michael on Failure. I’m a big fan of David Seah, both of his writing and of his products (his Emergent Task Planner changed my game). I’m also a fan of how upfront he is with his approach to his work and where he is at with his endeavors. I’ve only read part one of two (looking forward to part two this weekend, so who knows, it could be next week’s “thing”), but as someone who strives to improve, but often struggles to thrive with the work I do online, I couldn’t help but relate. David’s honesty really helped as I begin to assess my 2012 and make plans for 2013, I hope it will for you as well.

The PC All Over Again
Howie on Disruptive Technologies. This blows my mind. It’s a machine that would ‘print’ 3-D model aerospace parts out of cornstarch. This way a company can ‘print’ the prototypes to get a real feel for size. Even the internal parts are all there. Can you picture going to the new Batman movie with your kid and then printing out the batmobile from the movie without having to go to a store? Can you imagine the pricing disruption? In music, cutting out the middleman meant eliminating packaging, shipping, and more. Think of how eliminating packaging for many things would help the Earth. Hurt brick and mortar. Question is do you pay online for the design from the IP owner? Or do you steal it and print it from a file share?

Nurse Dies After Royal Pregnancy Hoax
Gini on Decency. Did you hear about this prank two Australian DJs played on the nurses at the hospital where Kate Middleton was staying last week? They called in, pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and made their way to the nurse who was tending to the Duchess. The nurse, who thought it was the Queen herself, gave the DJs private information about her healthcare on the air. This article is about the strange twist that includes the death of the nurse who transferred the call without triple-checking the caller was who she thought it was.

Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Social Media Perspectives

I hate articles like this:


How Walmart Won the Facebook War vs Target


It shows that there are plenty of Agencies who don't understand Social Media. And how sensationalism is why so many people are still suckers. To be fair I can come  up with many bright comments about the details in this story. From how many Fans Walmart and Target have on Facebook to the number of page actions taken as a great source of insights and feedback.


But that isn't what is in this article. And shame on Business Insider for allowing it to be printed.First off the title. The war will never be over. Don't use such a ridiculous title. And the stats inside  are so simplistic you wonder who comes up with this stuff. But the basic premise:


Walmart - 25 mil fans Target 20 mil fans and basically that Walmart has superior engagement levels and actions.


Yes. But why? Has Walmart run more games and contests or coupons? What time period is this over?Has either done heavy Facebook advertising? Do we know how much? 


No the author makes believe none of that is important. Here is my perspective. Facebook has been a zero for both brands.


Using the weekly 'Talking About' numbers:


Walmart 672k this past week or 96k per day.


Target     916k this week or or 130k per day


Worldwide Customers:


Walmart 500 million? More? Lets say 500 million. I bet it is higher.


Target     300 million? More? Let's say 300 million.



5% of customers like the Brand on Facebook. Average Fan takes an action on the page (Share, Like, Comment) once every 260 days. 



6.7% of customers like the Brand on Facebook.   Average Fan takes an action once every 153 days.


And of course the article mentions nothing about sales generated, coupon or campaign conversions etc. So based on the data above in the big picture Facebook is not driving sales for either company. and considering Walmart had $440billion in sales last year and Target only $67 billion on Facebook Target is wiping the floor with Walmart. In fact the doctor had to be called in to stop the fight and bandage Walmart's face.


Granted some of the numbers like Talking About are just from the last 7 days. But the article author gave no time line and if the war is over why did Walmart lose so badly in the last week?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

3 Things Edition 10

Yep it is another Edition of the 3 Things! With your hosts Michael Schechter, Gini Dietrich and Moi your favorite Ex-Chief Alien.

Enough - Ep 178 - Experience Happiness  

Michael on Emotions. Patrick Rhone and Myke Hurley’s weekly conversations on the Enough podcast on The 70Decibels network are always thought-provoking, but this week's examination of our emotions and the control they have over our lives was easily my favorite episode (which is saying something when you consider I’ve listened to nearly every episode of this 178 show run). While my own thoughts on the subject fall right in between Patrick and Myke, this is a very a worthwhile listen, especially if you feel like your emotions have far too much control over your life.

It Just Smells  

Gini on Science. You know white noise that helps you sleep when you're not in your own bed? Now scientists have figured out something comparable for smell. They've discovered, when more than 30 scents are combined, we can't distinguish anything in there, including very easy-to-tell scents such as coffee or sulphur. It doesn't really have a use yet, but it's a big step toward figuring out how our brains work when more than one sense is used. Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

How a Nice Jewish Boy Learned to Like Christmas  

Howie on the Holidays. I am always conflicted this time of year. Born Jewish who gave up the religion the Sunday after I was Bar Mitzvahed, and currently a semi-practicing Buddhist/Taoists/Pagan/Spiritualist/Logicalist I always have found this time of year very perverted in terms of Christmas and Hanukkah. I personally cannot believe Jesus would be okay with this holiday of rampant consumerism. And nothing made sense. No way Santa could ever have been in Israel. And do they have evergreen trees? I always assumed palm trees there. Why do we celebrate a birthday in December for someone born in the spring?. Could eight days of oil versus one really have saved the Jews from ancient oppression? Was that the first war over oil? And why did the gifts have to be money? Other than reinforcing Jewish stereotypes. Read this. You will think differently about the holidays and the symbols. And it is okay...feel proud to embrace your Pagan roots. We all have them. And seriously I think it is pretty cool that we still celebrate Winter Solstice and that my Jewish people had a Santa Claus character thousands of years before the big red party animal came onto the scene.