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September 2014
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12 posts from October 2014

Using email introductions to help people

To become a leader in our industry, we have to become known for providing valuable introductions. Unfortunately, it also means establishing new habits and skills. Michael Simmons has some very helpful tips. 

Inc.com: Stop Doing This One Thing in Email Introductions to Busy People, 2014-Oct-8 by Michael Simmons

[Not] giving your contacts enough context on why an introduction is being made is the most common mistake that smart people make over and over....

Michaels's tips for making the introduction click:

  1. Point to the common problem or passion you see that will make these two people happy to connect.
  2. Explain them to each other, and do not just provide links to be clicked. 
  3. Show them at their best. 
  4. Explain how you know them. 
  5. Triangulate them... where could they meet?
  6. Then provide links where they could follow up. 

Using blogging to think for more than ten years

Although I've been blogging for over 10 years (exactly 10 years on the Typepad platform), I've never figured out how to get much traffic. Traffic for the things I care about, that is. Yet my commitment hasn't wavered. Blogging works for me. I like seeing my thoughts recorded here.

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Now I'm trying to get in the habit of blogging every day. And one point that Anil Dash makes, really resonates. "Always write for the moment you're in." I'm at a big transition point these days, trying to form new habits. Instead of planning the topics my customers care about, I see that I need to use the topics I care about. My tastes may be rarified, but the only way I can make my concerns more well-known is to speak about them in the passion of the moment.

Dashes.com: 15 Lessons from 15 Years of Blogging, 2014-Sep-25 by Anil Dash

The personal blog is an important, under-respected art form. While blogs as a medium are basically just the default format for sharing timely information or doing simple publishing online, the personal blog is every bit as important an expressive medium as the novel or the zine or any visual arts medium. As a culture, we don't afford them the same respect, but it's an art form that has meant as much to me, and revealed as many truths to me, as the films I have seen and the books I have read, and I'm so thankful for that.... 

One sure way to trigger writer's block when blogging is to think, "I have to capture all my thoughts on this idea and write it about it definitively once and for all." If you assume that folks are smart and curious and will return, you can work around the edges of an idea over days and weeks and months and really come to understand it. It's this process that blogging does better than pretty much any other medium, and it's sharing that process with you that's been the greatest privilege of writing here for the last decade and a half.


To profit from your data, share it with an expert

Analyzing our marketing data takes a very different skill than helpling customers or managing our sales force. When I want a break from difficult decisions and demanding co-workers, I drop down a relaxing data hole. Does sorting, editing and analyzing customer records NOT sound relaxing to you? Then you need to work with someone like me.

MindEcology: You Don't Have to Be a Data Rock Star to Be In Our Show, 2014-Sep-25

Marketing research types like us are all kinds of crazy about data. But even though we’re unabashed data nerds, we know that not everyone’s idea of a good time is sitting around and talking about analytics intelligence, predictive modeling, and best customer profiling —even if they work in marketing or advertising.

Some marketing pros or business owners just don’t find that stuff very interesting (no matter how much we try to convince them that this stuff is in fact fascinating.) These types clients tend to be unconcerned with the “why”, the behind-the-scenes of data collection and analysis —because they just want to know the “how”, as in “how is this going to help my business?”


Conscious values

Building a long-lasting relationship with our customers requires us to identify our values and acknowledge which of the customer's values are being served. Traditionally, advertising agencies buried those values in metaphors and stories. Now, more and more companies are just stating them outright, assuming the customers can make a quicker, more long-lasting connection.

Internet Retailer: Don't call me 'daily': The Grommet drops the chronological element in its rebranding, 2014-May-13 by Thad Rueter

TheGrommet.com now features what the retailer calls larger and “more attractive” product displays, customer reviews and “personal value icons for customers to align their beliefs with their purchases.” Those icons, for instance, can tell a shopper whether a product comes from the United States, was handcrafted, used natural materials or was manufactured by a company that donates to charities.


Turn Inspiration Into Action, by Leo Babauta

Habits resist change. We should plan to deal with that. Whether you're resisting a bad habit or nurturing a good one, expect the resistance and use it like a cue to push on through.

Daily Good: Turn Inspiration into Action, 2014-Sep-28 by Leo Babauta

At the moment when you want to avoid it, pause. There will be a moment (or a bunch of moments) when you think, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” That’s the moment you have to not let pass idly by. Stop yourself, and just sit there for a moment, not going on your computer, just turning inward. What are you afraid of? What’s stopping you? There is a discomfort you’re trying to avoid. Instead, smile, and start. Do it and enjoy it in the moment. You’ll love it.