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11 posts from July 2012

Distinguish your company values or wind up in conflict

When a company is desparate for a particular skill or talent, it tends to ignore the value system of the new person being brought in. If the company values are easily distinguished, that person can adapt. Tq-120730-wvI say "distinguished" because value systems are alway on/off for specific values. As in we value speed over deliberation. Or we value data over intuition. If the company doesn't know what's subordinate, they don't know what's primary. 

A VC: While Building the Business, 2012-Jan-16, by Fred Wilson. (via Neil Perkin)

Companies are not people. But they are comprised of people. And the people side of the business is harder and way more complicated than building a product is. You have to start with culture, values, and a committment to creating a fantastic workplace. You can't fake these things. They have to come from the top. They are not bullshit. They are everything. There will be things that happen in the course of building a business that will challenge the belief in the leadership and the future of the company. If everyone is a mercenary and there is no shared culture and values, the team will blow apart. But if there is a meaningful culture that the entire team buys into, the team will stick together, double down, and get through those challenging situations.


Social marketing without that hollow feeling.

Social marketing it hard work. If it's not informed by a sincere desire to be yourself (and not just be interesting), then you may as well pack up and go home. All your work will evaporate.

Gapingvoid newsletter: Social marketing requires soul, 2012-Jul-19, by Hugh Macleod

F69bf3675a471b2c092b513b1cfb4650These days, many people in the social space still think that it's all about the channels, and that 'engagement' comes from involving folks in the
'conversation', etc. The truth is that social marketing is really about understanding basic human nature. It's about really caring, showing that people matter, and helping them connect for their own benefit.

It's about being real and remembering that if you know your purpose, you can be far more effective at connecting with people and doing meaningful business - doesn't matter if it's B to B, B to C, growing your tribe - whatever.

This one is for all of our social media friends as a reminder that those great metrics you are looking for come out of understanding people and doing stuff that matters to them.


Not your marketing professor's story

I'm currently reading Jim Signorelli's StoryBranding, and it's wonderful. Tq-120724-rdI realize it just reinforces what I already believe but it's helping me focus my thinking and use what I know. 

MENGonline: Branding through the power of story, 2011-11-30, by Jim Signorelli

Brands and stories are both vehicles through which relationships are forged. To better understand this concept, consider that the root of the word relationship is “to relate.” “To relate“ simply means to understand, identify, and support someone. It follows that the extent to which we do defines the strength of our “relationship.” This explains why we love story heros and despise villains. Arguably we love heroes not so much for what they do but for the values we associate with their motivations.

Steve Jobs to many is a hero. What he did while alive is remarkable But why he did what he did is where the real admiration comes in. If you’re familiar with his biography, how he functioned as a manager has been met with a great deal of criticism. It is well documented that he was often abusive, cagey, and belligerent. But his belief system provides a more important story. Despite his eccentricities, he was motivated by the conviction that he was just crazy enough to change the world. And he did. It is hard not to admire and aspire to his indefatigable spirit and the “theme” of his life.

It is the same with brands.  We like, want, and even need their functional benefits. But if we are to relate to a brand, what it does or how it performs will never be as important to us as what it represents. We like brands for what they do. But we love them for what they stand for.


Don't make your customer a target

Here's an interesting story about how Target the store avoids letting its "guests" become "targets" themselves. Even with their suppliers, most people don't want a relationship that's driven solely by money. Loyalty means that we recognize each other's needs, including the need to be left alone sometimes. 

Hub Magazine: Intents and Purposes, 2012-Jul/Aug, by Brian DeLong of CatapultRPM

Tq-120720-tdTarget [the store] is 100 percent focused on delivering the needs of the Target guest. Merchants, marketers, store associates and even the finance team all have a clear sense of who the guest is, and how they can improve the guest’s experience. That allows them to set five-year plans in place across multiple departments and business units with the confidence that they’re all moving in the same direction.

For outside vendors, their definition of partnership and collaboration revolves around putting the guest first. The guest isn’t just a shopper; she’s a complex person who is intelligent and demanding and special. For these reasons, a vendor who walks in with “consumer insights” in mind rather than “guest insights” is misunderstanding the values of Target. Most important, that vendor is missing why the shopper chooses Target and how she chooses the brands that go in her basket.


Using systems to measure an ad's like-ability

It turns out that Digg established, and Twitter and Tumblr are now using, systems that reward advertisers for creating ads their users like. Tq-120719-bdAlthough like-ability is no guarantee of effectiveness, it's still valuable. We can't persuade someone who doesn't like us, and as David Ogilvy said "you can't bore people into buying your product." So I recommend using these platforms to develop messages that are welcomed by the audience. 

Digiday: Digg’s Forgotten Legacy: Native Monetization, 2012-Jul-13, by Brian Morrissey. via ChasNote

And yet Digg was an innovator in one important way: It showed the way with an innovative ad system that was truly native to the experience. For all of Digg’s mistakes, it got the ad part mostly correct. Rather than splash the site with IAB units, Digg chose to make its own ads in 2009, determining that the ads themselves should be promoted content from the site. Advertisers were challenged to adapt to Digg’s community, contributing content that they could then pay to have surfaced more prominently. Users could comment on advertiser posts, promote them and bury them. The more an advertisement was Dugg, the less the advertiser had to pay, rewarding those with good content.

Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the blueprint Twitter is following now, along with Tumblr.


Finding something to talk about, that's a marketing job.

I love the "blogging is like jogging" quote below. Marketing has got to start pulling more and more practices from journalism, which is good because there are a lot of under-employed journalists. You can see what our local guys have been doing at the Lone Star AwardsTq-120717-yd

The definition of "interesting" is "of interest to your audience" which is the hardest part for marketers. Current events and great writing are the touchstones. 

Hubspot: How Even 'Boring' Industries Can Create Interesting Content, 2012-Jul-12, by Corey Eridon

Remember in elementary school when your teacher explained complex concepts in analogies? We do that here -- for example, we like to say that blogging is like jogging so that our customers understand they won't get results from their blog unless they publish consistently. Taking a similar angle in your content can help make a dull concept a little more interesting, too. For example, remember last year when everyone and their mother was baking cupcakes, there were 20 new reality shows about cupcakes and the people who bake them, and everyone left their jobs to pursue their lifelong dream of baking cupcakes? Yeah, we jumped right on that gravy train and wrote a blog post called "Marketing Lessons From the Cupcake." It did insanely well. I mean, who doesn't like cupcakes?


How to get someone to do something when they don't feel like it

I started my career as an Assistant Account Executive at the Houston branch of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. Tq-120716-wcI had huge responsibility and no authority. Managers would frequently use AAE's as a go-between in their efforts to influence another manager. As in, "Go tell the Creative Director that the client wants to see at least four alternatives." I quickly figured out that I needed to convince the Creative Director that it was his idea to show the client four alternatives. But I wish I'd had this technique. I think it would have been faster. 

The technique is that when someone balks at a request, ask them how much they feel like doing it on a scale of 1 to 10. The source is a book called Instant Influence. I especially like the fact that it gets you out of the habit of guessing someone's motivation. You will probably guess wrong. 

The Build Network: Persuasion and Motivation Techniques that Work, 2012-Jun-9, by Michael Pantalon, in an interview with Daniel Pink

If you ask, ‘Are you going to take my suggestion, yes or no?’ they continue to keep their motivation hidden. But if you ask them the ‘1-10’ question, they’re much more likely to reveal their motivation by saying a 2 or a 3, which is far better – you’ve now moved from a ‘No’ to at least a ‘Maybe.’