Posts tagged: Marketing and Advertising

My Vision for the Future of PR

I have this vision of an event that takes place sometime in the next two years. It goes something like this, although the exact details will differ (the future is a funny thing like that).

A PR account team is sitting down with their client talking about an up-coming product introduction. In the meeting is the account team of about 3 people from the agency,  few members of the clients PR team, one or two members from the product marketing team and one of the engineers that worked on the product.

As everyone is talking about the coming launch the engineer mentions something interesting, slightly humorous and not really vital about the product. Something like how they came up with the name or why they decided to build in a certain new feature.

One of the people on the account team whips out a Flip camera and asks the engineer to tell the story again and this time they record it. It’s short, maybe 5 minutes, and the meeting goes on. The PR person downloads the video onto their laptop, does a quick edit and emails it out to a hand full of bloggers they know would be interested all before the meetings over.

What I like about this vision is no one was surprised by this, it’s a fairly regular occurrence. The regular PR account team knew how to do this all on their own. No one had to send the video through legal, or marketing. The team was empowered to act on an opportunity they knew would support the company strategy.

I’m working really hard to make this happen sooner than later.

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There is No Proper Way to Market

Image via Wikipedia

I get it. I really do. I’ve spent the last several years working with great people who are a little misguided. People who have done their marketing jobs more or less the same way for almost their whole adult lives.

Sure things changed a little when that fad, the Internet, came along but their jobs didn’t change that much really. Sure you had to built Web sites (digital brochures) and you now had to buy advertising on portal pages and on search engines but that wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact with the exception of building a Web site you probably didn’t even really need to do that other stuff if you didn’t want to.

But this time things are different. Working in social media doesn’t fit into your current work flow.

io9 - Fox To Dollhouse Fan Site: “Shut Up” - Dollhouse

Clearing up your misperceptions of the show has become very time consuming and frankly takes away valuable time that could be spent actively marketing the series in the proper way.

My initial thought was: why are you wasting your time trying to squash all the rumors in the first place? People are going to talk, let them. If it’s really that big of a deal maybe you need to quit hiding things from them so they can talk about the truth and not rumors. Open up. These fans obviously have the ability to get the word out. Let them be your “non-proper” marketing engine.

My second thought of course was: What do you mean, “marketing in the proper way”? The only proper way to market is the one that achieves your goals (in an ethical way of course). Maybe the reason the show is at risk in the first place is because your proper way doesn’t work anymore.(Taking deap breaths. Calming down.)

Social Media isn’t something that you do in addition to all the traditional stuff you were doing. It replaces the things that weren’t working and enhances the things that would work better in social media. Yes you still have to do some of the traditional stuff. But there’s a lot you don’t have to do anymore.

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Please Stop Saying Viral Video

The H5N1 Virus [snag]
Image by Quiplash! via Flickr

I’m pretty lenient when it comes to buzz words. But there are a few that make my skin crawl every time I hear them. The worst is “social media expert” and in a close second is “viral video”.


You make videos that if they are good enough *go* viral.

Daniel Tenner has a great post on making a viral application (viral applications are to developers what viral videos are to marketers) — How to make your application viral

“How can I make my application viral?”

There’s a misconception built into that question: the idea that virality is something that you can just slap onto any product, like a magical pixie dust that will suddenly grant your application the gift of users.

He then goes on to provide a brilliant equation (I’m probably being over generous but us marketers are easily impressed with magical things like math).

The cornerstone of all discussion of the viral loop considers the cycle from acquiring a new user to having them invite others. In equation form:

viral coefficient = (average number of users invited by each active user who invites someone) x (proportion of invited users that actually join or become active) x (proportion of active users that invite others)

or, using variable names that we’ll refer to later:

VC = N x P1 x P2

If your viral coefficient is greater than 1, then over time your growth will increase exponentially, and you will saturate your market (or whatever parts of it you have access to, if your market is highly
fragmented). If it’s smaller than 1, your growth spurts will always end and you will have to keep pumping marketing energy into your application to grow it.

So to all my fellow math challenged marketers out there, the next time someone asks for a viral video throw this math back at them and see what happens. Be sure to let me know.

But seriously I’m thinking how this could apply to videos, or other marketing efforts where you don’t have control of the invite process.

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The Violent Origins of Marketing Communications

Image via Wikipedia

The Violent Origins of Marketing Communications

Have you ever wondered why marketing analogies are so violent? When you listen to marketers talk (by marketers I mean the whole lot of us, marketing, advertising and public relations) it sounds more like military personal talking about war.

  • We launch campaigns. (Yes I know it’s trendy to hate on campaigns right now).
  • We target customers and capture markets.
  • We brand and ignite things while we spread viruses.
  • We talk about crushing our competition, the destructive nature of disruption and the death of industries.
  • And finally, we execute.

Why are we so violent? Some say it’s human nature, some blame it on a history of a male dominated industry (but I know lots of women in this industry that can war analogy with the best of them).

As an undergrad of Communications, I was (and still am) fascinated with communication theory. In one of my classes we read American University professor Christopher Simpson’s Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960.

It turns out that the field of Communications started as government  funded university research programs. The goal of these programs was to catch up to (and exceed) the Nazi’s in areas of persuasion, psychological warfare, mass media and public communications research (later called public relations).

So why do all of our analogies sound like military jargon? Well, because they are.

It’s important to point out that much of the medical and technological advances that make our lives better also came out military, war time funded research.

But things have changed and traditional marketing communications is being rejected. People don’t want to be persuaded. People are tired of being targeted, captured and branded.

As communicators we should know better than anyone (thanks to our past) that if we want to change our behavior we need to change our language. We need to talk about (and mean it) building and creating and co-creating. Let’s empower and engage. Let’s start using positive, expansive language not negative, reductive language.

Besides positive language is so much more persuasive (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

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In Good Company [2 Interviews]

In Good Company [2 Interviews]

I woke up this morning to a pleasant surprise. I was featured in 2 separate articles on social media.

One was actually re-purposed from a previous interview I had done with Lee Odden. This is a great post though it features 25 tips from a wide variety of thought leaders and practitioners.

23 Social Media Marketing Tips from Dell, Comcast, HP, Wells Fargo, Best Buy, General Mills, Ford, UPS, Home Depot, Cirque du Soleil | Online Marketing Blog

Our 25 contributors include: Charlene Li, Richard Binhammer, Chris Brogan, Katie Paine, Valeria Maltoni, Joseph Jaffe, Dave McClure, Tac Anderson, Brian Solis, Rohit Bhargava, Jim Cuene, Jason Falls, Michael Brito, Scott Monty, Gary Koelling, Jessica Berlin, Tim Collins, Dave Evans, Brian Clark, Debbie Curtis-Magley, Geoff Livingston, Frank Eliason, Lindsay LeBresco, Nick Ayres and Shonali Burke - an impressive mix of social media talent that we’ve interviewed in the past at Online Marketing Blog.

The second article was written by Zach Hagadone for the Idaho Business Review. Zach takes a look at the Domino’s disaster I blogged about previously and ties in current hype around Twitter. Zach get’s quotes from myself, Jen Harris, Steve Nipper, Brian Critchfield, Lindsay Dofelmier,

Business gets buzz online

“What would have happened if all Domino’s employees had, along with their OSHA training, received a half an hour of social media training?” he said, adding that few if any companies are even thinking about it.

“Best case scenario, they’re training their communications people. Maybe some of their PR people, maybe HR people; but they’re not pushing out to the broader population in-company,” he said. “Companies still have this siloed thinking that company communication only comes from the communications people. That’s just not the case anymore. … The Internet is not a back-channel. We’ve reached the point where whatever’s happening offline is also happening online. …

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Social Media’s Value is in Return on Total Investment [Video]

My take on Social Media and ROI: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and time again, use Return on Total Investment (ROTI) not just Return on Investment (ROI). ROI only looks at the top line input while ROTI looks at input plus savings.

This was recorded at the BossDev seminar I did back in January.

You can see more videos on the BossDev blog from the BossDev crew and Dave Evans, author of Social Media an Hour a Day.

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Is your video resume up to date?

Jus InternationalJus International, a VC funded Network Marketing health company, is taking an interesting approach to finding a VP of Sales and VP of Marketing.

Jús International is a company based on health and wellness. In addition to professional qualifications, creativity and excitement are essential. We have received a large amount of resumes and have decided we wanted to see how creative and enthusiastic you are.

In order to learn more about you and see you live, please send us a video resume via a private YouTube showing or CD Rom.

There were a few things that struck me about this:

  • How many VP level people do you know that can shoot and edit video?
  • How many VP level people do you know that have ever or could upload a video to YouTube?

I’m probably being overly harsh to make a point. But Jus is definitely putting a stake in the ground. They want tech savvy creative leadership, it’s not enough to hire creative.

But this doesn’t surprise me. Jeff Boyle, Jus’ CEO, has previously started a tech company and a media comapny. I’d be interested to hear what percentage of their applicants actually send in video resumes.

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Learn the art of WOM from the master

I first met Andy Sernovitz at a WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) event many years ago. He instantly struck me as a genuinely nice guy. I’ve continued to follow his blog, read his book and in general stalked kept track of him over the last few years.

When I found out that he was coming to Boise back in April, I had to pull together a blogger lunch. We had a great lunch and we all walked away having learned from the Word of Mouth (WOM) master.

What makes Andy a WOM master? Well for one, he wrote a book but more importantly he embodies all the principles he teaches.

  • At the lunch Andy gave away several copies of his book.
  • He gave away bookmarks, business cards and fun little “I love my job” buttons.
  • He shot a video on his camera at the lunch that he later posted on his YouTube account.
  • I learned about his YouTube account from his out of office email response. (He never misses a WOM opportunity.)
  • Weeks later I got a package from him of the best popcorn I’ve ever had from Dale and Thomas Popcorn.
  • Dale and Thomas’ motto is “Share Some.” Which made me wonder if they read Andy’s book.

The amazing thing is that Andy does all of this effortlessly. This isn’t something he tries to do. This isn’t something that he goes out of his way to plan.

In my opinion that’s the kind of consistency that companies need to strive for.

Here’s your chance!

Andy is hosting a small-group word of mouth marketing seminar. Usually he only does private training for companies at a very large price, so this is a rare chance for 50 people to get the best introduction to word of mouth that there is.

We’ve arranged for a $250 discount for our clients. Use code “welovehewlettpackard” when you register.

This is a very practical, hands-on course. In one intense day, you will:

  • Master the five steps of word of mouth marketing
  • Construct an action plan that your company can start using the very next day
  • Get the same training that big corporations (Microsoft, TiVo, eBay) have received — for a fraction of what they paid
  • Know how to translate word of mouth marketing into real ROI
  • Participate in an active, intense day of practical brainstorming (not boring theory)
  • Learn from Andy Sernovitz, the guy who literally wrote the book on word of mouth marketing

Andy promises you will learn a repeatable, proven marketing framework that is easy to execute, affordable, and provides measurable results within 60 days.

More information:

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My first take on the HP - Omnicom deal

To start off I want to reiterate the disclaimer in my sidebar. This is all my opinion not HP’s. I have no real details that haven’t already been stated in the release, just my opinion.

Ron Coughlin (IPG’s SVP of Marketing) has been at HP almost exactly one month longer than me (he’s going on 10 months). VJ (SVP of IPG) has placed a lot on his shoulders since he came on board from Pepsi. IPG Marketing is going through the usual every other year re-org, which is being led by Ron and he has obviously been working on some very big deals.

One of the things that struck me about the communication around the deal is externally reports are talking about Omnicom being able to resell HP products. Internally the deal is focused on marketing collateral supply chain management.

Not exactly the kind of message you’d expect to hear from a SVP of Marketing and a giant Ad Agency.

Omnicom as a reseller? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

HP offering stream lined print on demand services to Omnicom clients? That makes a lot of sense to me.

There are reports that the solution will not be about printers but about HP technologies and services. What does that mean exactly? I’m not completely sure but if I had to guess I’d say they would use some of HP’s recent acquisitions to manage the clients collateral and connect them to print service providers (PSP). The rationale behind this would be to allow customers to only print what they needed, when they needed it, in the quantities they needed.

Marketing collateral is one area where printing still makes a lot of sense. If you look at what HP has been doing in the SMB space, this is a very similar move that’s focused on large and mid market customers using PSP’s instead of an in-house printer.

The world of printed pages and marketing budgets are both huge and still growing, they’re just changing directions.

My first take on this is that it’s a smart move to follow the customers and provide value. But it is not without risk. Anytime your customer shift and you follow you leave yourself exposed to newcomers as well as your current competitors. But HP and Omnicom haven’t gotten to be the size they are by sitting around and avoiding risk.

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We still need definitions before metrics.

This is an absolutely amazing post By Ross. I’d pull quote the whole article but here’s a start. Do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing and then send it to everyone in your marketing group and then every marketing manager in your company.

Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Why The Marketing World Can’t Turn

…when it comes time for a Director of Product Marketing to pitch for budget on a Social Media, things may grind to a halt.

The reason is we are still developing the language, let alone the numbers, around Social Media as a marketing investment.

The hardest part of adapting your marketing thinking is that the predominant pattern in Web 2.0 is sharing control to create value. You see it in communities like Wikipedia or YouTube. You see it in business models like Open Source. You see it when the conversations around your brand happen without you. But there is no buy vs. build equation for deciding to share control. The decision to put intellectual property into the commons does not yet have tools to forecast return.


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