• Great work from the Mizuno team to launch a piece of research and related infographic to find out what would happen "if everybody ran". In this era of data overload, I like the approach they took, the findings are interesting and the infographic below is great. However, check out the... more
  • South by Southwest (SXSW) is almost a month in the rearview mirror at this point, but for me it takes about as long to allow everything that I saw to sink in. So I wanted to recap some of my key takeaways about the industry and the event itself. I... more
  • A couple of weeks ago I attended Jeff Pulver's #140 Conference in Detroit. I have to say that it was one of the more inspired gatherings of people that I've been to in some time. The more conferences I attend the more I find that any conference with the words... more
  • Ah, how things (kinda) change when you step away for a while to assess the environment. This blog has sat on the sideline for the past year and a half as my work has taken priority. It is very hard to talk about it and do it at the same... more
  • I was not waiting on line at 5am for the iPad like some other people around the US. It's a device without a niche for me right now. Think what you will of it, however, the technology behind the iPad and similar devices is helping to redefine categories that have... more

A better way to infographic

Great work from the Mizuno team to launch a piece of research and related infographic to find out what would happen "if everybody ran". In this era of data overload, I like the approach they took, the findings are interesting and the infographic below is great.

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 11 17 12 AM

However, check out the website to get the full experience. Much more engaging, show product benefit and spokesperson all while adding value.


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South by Southwest 2014 - Looking Back, Moving Ahead

South by Southwest (SXSW) is almost a month in the rearview mirror at this point, but for me it takes about as long to allow everything that I saw to sink in. So I wanted to recap some of my key takeaways about the industry and the event itself.

I have a somewhat different view of SXSW than many of my colleagues and peers in the industry, having attended the event in the years pre-Twitter. If you’re not familiar with SXSW, it started in 1994 in Austin, Texas as a music festival, adding a film and interactive festival along the way. Attendance for the interactive festival was estimated to have topped 30,000 this year and remains the industry’s only truly must-attend event. (Some call it the Digital Davos.)

In those early years of the festival, it was completely self-contained. The activity happened in a section of the Austin Convention Center and you would inevitably see everyone who was there. It was, as a friend of mine once said, “the place where the Internet comes to life.” It saw the launch of Twitter and later Foursquare and has always been a hotbed of digital thought leadership.

In subsequent years, as the festival has grown, it has morphed into a place where brands are more engaged, and they now dominate the look and feel of the event. Having activated the Chevrolet experience at SXSW for a number of years in a former job, I know the benefits for a brand can be immense and the festival’s notoriety will continue to drive more engagement and innovation

This year, there were more than 800 sessions for attendees to choose from. These sessions took place in the main Convention Center as well as ten satellite locations throughout Austin. MSLGROUP had over 30 digital leaders from around the world on site, and here are some of our key takeaways.

My takeaways from SXSW 2014:

  1. Mobile is still the WWW (Wild Wild West)
    I liken mobile in 2014 to the internet in 2000, slightly evolved, but just on the cusp of really exploding and transforming in front of our eyes. As social media becomes more and more mobile-dominant, new players will continue to arise and old players will morph to keep up. This leads me to my second point.
  2. Asia is leading social innovation
    To see the next trends in mobility for the US market, you will have to look to a Chinese mobile social network. I was in Beijing a few months back and was able to talk to people who were using some of these new apps and to see their power. WeChat, for example, has nearly 400,000 users and combines the best parts of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, PayPal, GrubHub, Uber and Vine in a mobile-dominant platform. While the platform itself may never take off in the US, I certainly see elements that the big networks will explore.
  3. Mobile advertising set to boom, different rules
    The mobile advertising that exists in 2014 will soon be replaced by more contextual, smart advertising that appears more 1-to-1. Among major platforms, Twitter has taken the lead in this area, but more third party networks and ad serving platforms are quickly coming up to meet brand needs.
  4. It’s still all about the people
    Social media’s power is the ability to connect people online and then offline and back again. The power of personal connections, especially for brands, cannot be discounted. To me, this is the real value of SXSW and the reason I will continue to go as long as you go.

This was reposted from the MSLGROUP blog with some edits.



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Micro is the new small. Progress, one micro step at a time.

A couple of weeks ago I attended Jeff Pulver's #140 Conference in Detroit. I have to say that it was one of the more inspired gatherings of people that I've been to in some time. The more conferences I attend the more I find that any conference with the words "social media" in the title are total crap. Same people, same thinking, no progress. I'm trying to diversify and find the other people who are doing the work.

The #140 Conference brought together storytellers who talked about how they are affecting change in the city of Detroit and the world. Two of the top presenters had something in common which I find fascinating and in both cases, revolutionary. It's the evolution of micro.

I've written about micromedia before as far back as 2007. The web has made big things small and small things big. New trends are emerging now around micro-payments, micro-fundraising and even micro-real estate. Meet "Lemonade Detroit" and "Loveland".

Lemonade Detroit:

Lemonade Detroit is a documentary film about the people who are in the city of Detroit who are not leaving and who are committed to making things better. Here is the trailer if you are interested:

The coolest part of the project, however comes in the way the filmmakers are trying to fund the film. They're allowing the public to purchase individuals frames of the film. Once purchased, that person will be listed in IMDB as an official "Producer" of the project. So, you get to help a filmmaker and get a cool bonus on the side. Such a cool way of thinking differently about raising money for a project like this.

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Loveland Inchvesting:

Welcome to the microhood! Along the same lines as Lemonade Detroit, Loveland is trying to improve the city and allow people to invest (or inchvest) over time. Loveland is a small physical parcel of land (see map below) located at 8887 East Vernor Highway and Holcomb streets where people can purchase inches of land. Once purchased, the ownership is mapped to a digital environment where people can chat with their neighbors and form real relationships. People can earn badges, name the city and give it their own personality.
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This way of thinking small can have a big impact. It's different, adds value to the community and to individuals and makes you sit back and think about the possibilities. Just think about micro funding a novel all the way up to a project to bring clean water to Africa. There are amazing possibilities that open up when conencted to mobility and mobile micropayment by SMS/RFID.

What would you do as a side project if you could? How would you change the world?

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Enough is enough, the blog comeback and a new publishing venture

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Ah, how things (kinda) change when you step away for a while to assess the environment. This blog has sat on the sideline for the past year and a half as my work has taken priority. It is very hard to talk about it and do it at the same time. In that year, I have backed off of Twitter, let my feed reader implode and focused on doing the work that a lot of people only dream of doing for some of the largest companies around. I've also spent time around people who are rocking out in the social/digital space on the corporate side and have built an amazing team at FH in Dallas that is second-to-none and doing great work every day.

So, what did I miss? Surprisingly not a whole lot. The same people are talking about the same things, the conversation hasn't really evolved since 2007 for many bloggers and "SM experts" and the conferences...ugh...have not evolved much since 2007 either. Some of my peers feel the same way. There is a bubble around this space and those who are doing the work will be the only ones to survive.

Reading through my feeds again, it seems like there has not been a lot of progress. I want to help change all of that. When I started this blog, there was no such thing as Mashable or GigaOm who cover this space, new sites, etc. better than I could possibly dream of. I thank them for that. It frees me up to talk about things from a higher level, backed with hands-on experience and still make it accessible to everyone, not just the elite.

So, the blog is coming back over the next two weeks with a new focus, with a commitment to you, my readers whom I have missed enormously, to publish at a new, higher level and deliver the value that you deserve. The focus will be on strategy, trends and innovation. I'll get back to videos to explain those areas, but will leave the site demos to the publishers who do it best. It's also nice to see people picking up on the Techno+Marketer thinking, even if it is narrowly defined and focuses way too much on the technology part of marketing.

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On a side note, I have started a new project called "Techno+Culture". It's a curated site where I am going to post things that I think impact the future of technology, culture and media with less of a focus on marketing (which will continue to live here on Techno+Marketer). The posts are short, full of interactive content and have about a Tweet's worth of context to put it into perspective. I hope you subscribe and enjoy.

Thank you for sticking around, we're just getting started.

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Technology redefines categories and experience

7E99A285-9B1F-4D8B-B72E-036022AEBE12.jpgI was not waiting on line at 5am for the iPad like some other people around the US. It's a device without a niche for me right now.

Think what you will of it, however, the technology behind the iPad and similar devices is helping to redefine categories that have had relatively little innovation in centuries.

Take the book industry. Now, I love my Kindle and it's innovative enough, but it uses the same paradigm as a print book. It works for what I need (quick consumption and ease of travel), but it is limited.

The experience of the Kindle is okay. It could be smoother and reminds me of what Blackberrys were like about 5 years ago. Get your hands on a new Blackberry and you'll see what I am talking about. It's smooth and easier to use yet still functional. The Kindle will catch up quickly.

Now, think about what publishing can look like on a device that senses when you tilt it or when you touch it. Have a look:


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The experience that new technology provides opens doors and lets us shift our thinking about old standards and the experience that can be delivered.

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Five simple guidelines for social engagement

iStock_000010779625XSmall.jpgI have talked about the importance of developing and implementing social media policies within organizations previously on this blog. These policies not only protect the company, but go a long way to educating its employees on what the implications and ramifications are of engaging in social channels.

I've seen a number of instances where seemingly harmless information is posted on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and that person was not aware of the connectivity of the medium. Soon, people find out what they said and share it. In an age when the "delete" button means nothing (everything is stored forever in most cases even if you do delete) it's crucial to have informed employees.

In college, I had a professor who suggested that when making a tough decision that we look in the mirror and see if we believe what we're saying. Here are the five guidelines that I think are the core of social engagement when you are working within a company. They are my mirror test.

Five guidelines/questions before posting:


  1. Assume your Mom reads/sees everything that you post
  2. Assume your boss reads/sees everything that you post
  3. Assume your biggest client reads/sees everything that you post
  4. Assume your biggest competitor reads/sees everything that you post
  5. Assume your children will read/see everything that you post

I run through these filters myself when I post things as a final checklist. If something doesn't pass, then it's out the window.

What guidelines would you add to the list? How do you make content decisions?

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Search + social media, the evolving landscape

Screen shot 2009-12-10 at 11.31.30 AM.pngYou have undoubtedly heard about Google and Bing announcing partnerships with Twitter/Facebook/et. al. to include real time social media results into their search indexes. However, even if you did hear about it, I think few people have seen what it looks like in Google's environment, so I recorded this short video for the search term "Copenhagen". Have a look. (Bing takes a slightly different, segmented approach.)

Key Takeaways:


  • These results are pulled into the first page of Google, there are substantial reputation issues to consider
  • These updates are not listed like other webpages/fan pages/primary Twitter accounts, they are in a separate area on the page (fairly contained...for now)
  • The searcher will see what is hot at that point in time
  • It seems like this would be very susceptible to fraud and Tweet bombing, would love to get your opinion on that

What does this mean for you and your brand(s)? How are you preparing/sharing and engaging around this? One of the keys to social media gaining the traction it has is its uncanny way of tapping into the power of search and this is taking that to the next level.

Let me know what you think.

[UPDATE 12/11]: It seems that Yahoo has also added in-line Tweets to search results. This model pulls in three recent (not sure the exact algorithm here) Tweets to the bottom of the result page. Screenshot below.

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Can Google's weight give momentum to QR codes?

I was reading through a post today on the Ad Age Digital Next blog by my colleague Allison Mooney and wanted to share it with you. The post is on Google's support of QR code technology through a program called Favorite Places.

In short, Google is tapping into their local search data to find the top local establishments. They then send them a sticker for their door which has a QR code printed on it and takes the person to that business' listing on Google. It's an interesting way to tie live search data to a physical location and then back to search again.

The trick here, as noted by Allison, is that the QR reader software is an add-on to devices. There are some free versions around, but many people will have to pay for it, not to mention the level of education that needs to happen around this to make it successful.

Here is a quick video overview that Google produced to explain the program:

(Does anyone else find it weird that they used the iPhone throughout the video and not a Google Android device? Oh well.)

If you're interested, here is more information on QR codes from a previous post I did.

So what does this mean? Not much at this point. It's great to have a giant like Google throw their weight into it, but there is a lot of education that needs to happen first. If and when device manufacturers start installing a reader standard on all handsets (Nokia does on some handsets) we can talk more about it as a solid marketing option.

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Dickman does Dallas

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So, there it is. Over the past couple of months I am sure that you have noticed the fact that I have all but disappeared from speaking, blogging and Tweeting. I've had a lot going on and I have needed the time to get my legs under me and dedicate the necessary time to this blog before jumping back in. Nonetheless, there are a lot of updates to give you, so let me start from the top.

On Dallas:
A couple of months ago an incredible opportunity came open with Fleishman-Hillard here in Dallas to lead the digital team for the Southwest region. Some phenomenal FH colleagues here had the faith in me to do this job and I haven't looked back. I've been working across the region (Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio) and floating back and forth to Cleveland.

I am very lucky to have a great, growing team of individuals here who make this job fun and very rewarding. We're firmly concentrated on digital marketing, advancing social media thinking and tapping mobile to deliver killer brand experiences. Yes, this is a PR agency...well maybe.

If you're in Texas and want to meet up, drop me an email. I'd love to get together and learn more about what you do. Also drop me a line if you're looking to join one of the best digital agency teams anywhere.

On Cleveland:
To all of my fellow Clevelanders, I will miss you guys a lot, but it's an opportunity I could not pass up. But, hey, this is the digital age. I am just a Skype call, IM, text or phone call away from you. Cleveland is an amazing, underrated city filled with extremely talented, passionate people. I am an advocate and always will be.

On the Future:
During my brief hiatus I've done a lot of work in the space, done some heavy thinking on its future and how digital/social/mobile will go next and what that means for marketers. Look for the same multimedia content you've come to expect here, but also look out for even more thought pieces on what this means and where we're going.

Thank you for reading!

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Where you at, Matt?

iStock_000001004798XSmall.jpgA number of you have noticed that I have been scarcely around the blog and Twittersphere over the past couple of months. I have a lot going on and wanted to step back and gather my thoughts. I just wanted you to know that I am not gone, I am just on a short hiatus. I have a couple of big announcements coming up as well as a little branding overhaul for Techno//Marketer.

Long story short, I'm going to be back soon, better than ever (I hope), so thank you for reading and I'll be back in the conversation with you very soon.

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