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7 posts from November 2012

Why recommendations are worth doing fast and specific

In the long run, we need support from our friends and supporters to get along in our work and our lives. Tq121129pdHave you ever gotten assistance from someone who did all the wrong things and made matters worse? That's what it's like to get a poorly thought-out recommendation. 

Good recommendations are specific and useful. It doesn't actually take much time to write them, usually, but it takes time to think the situation through and make a real contribution. After you've figured out what to say, don't take too long to get it out. Awkward sounds genuine. 

The Public Speaker: How to Write Better Linked Recommendations, 2012-Nov-13, by Lisa B. Marshall

Try to keep your recommendations 60-100 words. If possible, follow the rule of threes. When you group together in groups of threes, it makes it inherently more effective, more satisfying. Oh, and try to choose adjectives that are specific, interesting and somewhat unusual such as pioneering, illuminating, vibrant, vivacious, amazing—you get the idea.


Google in the morning, LinkedIn in the evening, Pinterest after supper time

Twitter after lunch and Facebook all afternoon... 

That's not entirely true, but it's fun to write. Tq121126dcFor most of us, just getting the message out is nothing short of a miracle, but there are better and worse times to post. Of course, the best approach is to observe your own target audience, but the Mediabistro sister publication Social Times is following the frenetic trendshifts. Social Times takes a light-hearted view of the business and has recently been added to my newsfeed.

B2B Marketing Insight Blog: Best Times of Day to Post Content on Social Media Profiles, 2012-Oct-9 by Andrew Bates

Recently Social Times shared Social Caffeine's infographic, "The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks" with data from many sources including Mashable.


Traveling with our customers

Yesterday I spent hours researching a major prospect. Tq121121tdI came up with a matrix of about 25 people who could have knowledge or input into the problem we solve. Getting from the people most troubled by the problem to the people capable of buying the solution will be a long and tricky journey. 

MathMarketing: The Buyers' Journey

  • What most fully solves this problem (because that’s what you should be selling)?
  • Who can best uncover this problem (because that’s who you should be selling through)?

  • Keeping up with our communities... let the juggling begin

    Reading about Andrew Hyde settling (a little) at Hamburg-based HackFwd made me think about the several communities I struggle to keep up with. 

    I do think that trying to serve a community keeps you on your toes and strengthens not only your goals and talent but also management skill. The more you want for your community, the more ingenious you have to become. 

    Tq121119jbIt may be in the future I have only one or two communities instead of four or five, but I doubt it. I've been strongly influenced by Mark Granovetter's analysis of the "strength of weak ties," and become wary of falling into a tight and insulated circle. As long as I want to be an innovator, I have to stay exposed to diverse influences. 

    As the holidays arrive, let the juggling begin!

    Travel Chronicles: Joining Hackfwd, 2012-Oct-24 by Andrew Hyde

    ...your talent develops with your goals and community, when one is pushed, the others become stronger


    How to drive your customers to loyalty

    I recently met Dale Harrison and he told me one key to loyalty is getting the customer past the third successful interaction with the company. At that point, loyal behavior can be the norm. That's one of the most valuable insights I've encountered in a long while, and is reinforced by the terrific research from Communispace, quoted below.  Tq121116sd

    Although most of us won't admit being emotional about our business relationships, we all desire that they be stable, reliable and safe. That means we've been smart shoppers, and having stable relationships frees us up for more interesting adventures. 

    The Hub Magazine: Head vs. Heart, 2012-Nov/Dec by Julie Wittes Schlack and Ed Chao of Communispace

    These three emotions — feeling relaxed, appreciated, and good about oneself (smart) — appear and correlate with purchase decision in many other business categories or industries. In the credit card business, for example, these emotions were the dominant difference between customers who used the card frequently or sporadically. In auto insurance, the presence of these emotions was the key difference between a brand’s customers and non-customers. While the relative importance of these three emotions varied across industries, they were consistently the major difference between loyal customers and less loyal, or non-customers.


    On becoming media and our obligations to our audience

    The lines between consumer and producer of media are being erased, and it's happening to marketers first. Tq121109tdTwo questions strike me... 

    1. Do all marketers have to become media? Will some be exempt?
    2. What responsibilities do we assume when we become media? Are we ready for them? 

    Fact checking, follow-up, and objectivity are all things we expect from media that we haven't expected from marketers. So how is this going to work? I expect a few companies will make their audience feel betrayed before we learn how to navigate this new landscape. 

    Logic and Emotion: Brands Will Become Media, 2012 by David Armano

    The end game in social media won’t be accumulation of fans but rather your ability to reach them and potentially inspire action....

    It’s all going to come down to this: content, quality, frequency and relevancy. If companies are to become media, they must master the art and science of merging marketing with a real-time news cycle. The content a company produces must be compelling and built for an audience with an itchy “like” finger.

    And it’s going to take time. Most companies don’t have full-time editors and newsrooms that work hand-in-hand with their marketing department and partners, but in a few years they might.


    9 Things I learned at TEDxHouston

    On Saturday, November 3, 2012, I attended TEDxHouston at the Asia Society. I've attended all three of the TEDxHouston events, and I'm thrilled by the progress they've made in putting on a world-class event.

    Fun and games are an important part of any TED event, and Christine Stevens and I enjoyed the Smilebooth. Tq121105tc2

    Supporting TEDxHouston is now a matter of moving past compliments and digging into where they shine and what other things they could do to help Houston gain international recognition as an engine of creativity and innovation. From the very first event, they've made important contributions, such as launching Brene Brown into the national spotlight. 

    What I learned and observed this year:

    1. Comfortable places to network are just as important as good seating at the event. This year's venue, The Asia Society, provided many different areas to mix and mingle, and it was easy to be comfortable and to hear the person you were meeting. It's hard to imagine it could get any better in this area. 
    2. New faces were wonderful to see. The previous events were almost like reunions, but this time new faces outnumbered familiar ones. 
    3. Authentic, locally sourced food is great, but more variety and service would be appreciated. Yes, that would run up the cost. I used to pay $700+ every year for a similar conference in New York, so clearly, I'm willing to pay more. 
    4. Speakers were bettered prepared and more consistent in quality. Before the event, I would have said I prefer Houston-based speakers only, but since my favorite presenter was from out-of-town, I guess I appreciate them more than expected. 
    5. I am not the typical attendee. When everyone else jumps up to give a speaker a standing ovation, I'm usually displeased with that speaker. One of the reasons is that I don't enjoy hearing someone "rally the troops" around popular ideas. I want to be shown the cutting edge and hear ideas that take me out of my comfort zone. 
    6. More games and activities were planned than happened. It's natural that low interest will cause some ideas to die a natural death, but it felt more like the event was too thinly staffed to follow through. Despite having many volunteers, I'm beginning to think the event isn't recruiting the right skills from their volunteers. Solving this problem represents a considerable management challenge that may not be interesting to the sponsors. Maybe fewer activities should be planned, or maybe I should lower my expectations. Many of my expectations were formed back when I used to attend a Fast Company conference called "Real Time" which excelled at activities. However, they don't do that conference anymore because after about 6 interations, it never made money. I hope someone figures this out one day, but it may not be TEDxHouston. 
    7. CulturePilot produced one of the best conference program booklets I've ever received. It was a pleasure to use both for looking up items and for taking notes. It appears to have been less expensive than other equally functional programs. GOOD JOB!
    8. My favorite presenters were Nilofer Merchant and Chitra Divakaruni, and I also appreciated Mariam Haddad, Karen Walrond, Viswa Subbaraman, Andy Hines, Anthony Brandt, Nick Skytland, Jeffrey Kripal, and Craig Rusin. When I'm attending, I'm looking for a speaker who will either give me a new and better perspective, or teach me something I didn't know before. 
    9. I had no way to voice my criticisms for the messages provided by Jay Berckley and Stephen Klineberg. And although Jay Berckley was available after the event, I realized that not having the opportunity to ask questions in a "forum" can be a serious drawback to these events. It's one of the reasons I prefer the Pecha Kucha format, where the speakers are supposed to hang be available at a specific table after the event for questions. (Although I know they often don't follow through.) 
    Stephen Klinberg is one of Houston's most important thought leaders, and someone whom I admire deeply. So I was probably most frustrated by his presentation. Want to know why? Comment and ask me to post about it!