Previous month:
April 2007
Next month:
June 2007

Buzz Friday (week of May 11)

buzz_listen.jpg
Here is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to add on.

 

 

Items I think are interesting:
  • More and more ad agencies are creating digital units (Y&R announced theirs yesterday). For digital to really work in any agency setting they need to integrate completely. I've seen it fail many times and I wonder why mega agencies aren't getting it.
  • I talk about digital's importance all the time. When Rupert Murdoch says the same thing it carries a little more weight. He certainly seems to get it (via DigitalHive)
  • Apple claimed the sale of 10% of all notebooks sold in the US in March. Are you developing and testing for Macs? You should be.
  • Delta is bringing its emergence from Chapter 11 to the masses and trying to reinvigorate their brand. A recent site launch and possible Twittering are helping to move them along, but time will tell if they take it to heart or not. Check out Joseph Jaffe's take.
  • Facebook is set to offer classified ads soon. Could this be the first real contender to Craigslist?
  • A new search engine called 50 Matches poses a new model in the search realm. The site only indexes content which was tagged or voted on in social networking sites. All the more reason for companies to make sure they get involved in the right ways.
  • Kevin Rose of Digg fame is rumored to be starting another company to compete with Twitter. It's going to take something special to dislodge Twitter's first mover advantage.
  • Yahoo and Microsoft may not be sitting in a tree as was rumored last week, but the two companies are working more closely together to take on Google.
  • Firefox is rumored to be working on a mobile browser, but company sources say it's a while off. My questions is WHY? They need to make their mark now and make the phone more usable. The growth potential is huge here.
  • Joost looks to be getting $45 million more in funding...I still don't get it. We'll see if a) they can scale up to the current user load and b) if the cable companies catch up quickly.
  • Google has taken the first small step towards meging offline and online buying. This is where the company's real power will show itself if they can move fast enough.
  • SOBCon is this weekend in Chicago and I am really bummed that I can't attend. I hope the event becomes an annual one. The speaker list holds some of my friends and the attendee list is just as impressive.
  • Valeria raises some interesting points in her post about piracy. Is copying the sincerest form of flattery or trechery? You decide.
  • Cam Beck built off one of my earlier posts and added some new value to the idea of data collection and use. Check it out.
  • As much as I like mobile technology, here is a reason NOT to use your cell phones in movie theatres.
  • When social networking is on pace to pass porn as the most popular activity on the net, you know this is not a fad. That's what the Economist is saying. Check it out via Smart Mobs.
  • A late entry to the list, David Armano has a great post about persona ecosystems. It's a fantastic way to visualize (this is Armano what do you expect) the entire breadth of people's persona identities. Enjoy.

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. ron paul
  2. youtube
  3. myspace
  4. galilea montijo
  5. joost
  6. paris hilton
  7. michael buble
  8. videos
  9. google
  10. american idol

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. NewsGator
  2. Plaxo
  3. 9rules Network
  4. Flixter
  5. Stickam

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Gaping Void
  5. Marketing Shift
  6. Drew's Marketing Minute
  7. Daily Fix
  8. Influential Interactive Marketing
  9. Converstations
  10. New School of Network Marketing

Honorable mention to Greg Verdino for making the top 25 list this week. Way to go Greg!
View the top full top 25

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. David Hasselhoff Intoxicated
  2. Mario: Game Over
  3. Tony Blair felicite Nicolas Sarkozy
  4. Domino PCs
  5. Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm in DC

More


Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Google is stalking me, but what does it mean?

crystalball.jpgI wish I had a crystal ball to see where the online landscape will be in 5-10 years. The only thing I know for sure is that it will look very different than it does now. Google's invasiveness in my life will certainly change, but it's not a bad thing right now. They are adding value to my life and making my day easier. They're friendly and colorful and people go out of their way to evangelize their products and services. But this may not always be the case. I can think of a couple other companies who are/were this invasive.

Hindsight is 20/20 the old saying goes. I see parallels between Google's current path and a couple other companies that go by the name of Yahoo and Microsoft. Each of those companies attempted to be and, in each case, had a chance to become what Google is today before taking a back seat.

To read the rest of my article click over to The Madison Avenue Journal.

Click here for the back-story of how Google is stalking me.


Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Giving back

habitat-logo.gifI have the great fortune to be part of the young professional board for a couple of great non-profit organizations here in Cleveland (Shoes and Clothes for Kids and Ronald McDonald House). Through those two outstanding organizations I feel like I am truly helping people in my community.

This idea of giving was taken online when a group of bloggers rallied around one of our own a while back. You've seen the banner in the top right column of my blog as well as many other bloggers remembering CK's mom. Since this weekend is Mother's Day we think it a great opportunity to do a little something extra. CK's amazing mom was involved with Habitat for Humanity, a fantastic charity that does a lot of good all over the world. If you are interested in donating click here and your donation will be made in honor of CK's mom. Know that your money will go directly to the people who need it.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Web2.0 for marketers: beyond the hype

two.jpgJust wanted to give you a heads up that I am going to be running a special series called "Web2.0 for marketers: beyond the hype" all next week. I am bombarded with questions every day about what Web2.0 is. I also hear it mis-used WAY too often to describe some very interesting things.

This series will be 100% geared towards you marketers. No techno-babble, no smoke and mirrors. Just the facts and how it is and will impact you and your clients. Here is the content schedule I am going to follow:

  • Monday: History briefly and what Web2.0 is NOT
  • Tuesday: This isn't your grandfather's business model
  • Wednesday: Who let the tech out? (Please sing to the tune of "Who let the dogs out". Thank you.)
  • Thursday: It's the community stupid (whether you like it or not)
  • Friday: What this really means for you and your clients

Now, here is your chance to get involved. Is there anything you want me to address specifically? Any nagging questions that you or a client has had in the back of your mind? Let me know in the comments or you can email me directly. I'm going to have some fun with this, after all it's an amazing time in marketing.

Shift your thinking into overdrive and meet me back here on Monday to dive in and come ready to learn and participate.


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Keeping tabs on your conversations

cocommentlogo.pngWhen I first started blogging, I wasn't sure where the value would come from. After a while I found part of my value comes from the formation of ideas, improved writing skills and meeting amazing friends. But, mostly to my surprise, the majority of the value I get from blogging comes from the comments.

It's hard to see this at the outset. When you first start blogging nobody comments. Don't let this get you down though. Persevere new bloggers! With hard work, networking, commenting on other blogs and consistent posting your commenters will come. The first one will knock your socks off. There is an instant personal connection to that person for taking the time to share with you (that's what it's all about FYI). That feeling stays with you.

Over time, more comments will roll in and you'll stoke the fire of conversation. One of the biggest challenges in blogging for me was tracking the comments I left on other blogs. You basically have to remember where you went and if you're a good blogger looking to be great you need to be browsing lots of blogs (I subscribe to over 300). It was overwhelming to say the least.

I came across a great service that solved my problem. It's called coComment. The service is simple. Here's how it works. First, install a small plugin for Firefox or use their bookmarklet. Once you have it installed you will see a small toolbar on your comment submissions like this one:

Picture 3.png

The service then monitors the comments you are involved in and notifies you when somebody else has commented. You have your own page that shows you all of the conversations happening in which you are a part. Here is a grab of my page:

Picture 4.png

Even if you don't leave comments or leave very few, you can still use coComment to save threads that interest you. So if you go to a post you like and check the coComment box it will let you know when anybody comments. A nice comment bookmarking service.

If you are having my same dilemma and you don't want to be left out, this is a good solution to try. The comment threads in which you are involved are a great learning tool. Without them you're just talking to yourself...what fun is that?


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Newspapers trying to stay relevant, leverage social content

newspapers.jpgThere is a great discussion going on over at David Reich's blog about the sustainability of newspapers. The point was made that the current give-it-away model newspapers are taking is flawed and spelling certain doom. Head over there for David's piece and the reactions.

One of the major issues newspapers are facing is how to stay relevant and add value to their reader's lives. I read something this evening that sparked my interest and gave me a glimmer of hope. I read this article in the New York Times about BostonNow. The daily, free paper is starting to use content generated by bloggers in the print edition. So, in line with stories by columnists are the opinions of bloggers.

This is a fantastic way to engage the broader community. Tightening the circle of content producers and getting bloggers to engage their audiences is a nice way to grow readership. Bloggers are usually specialized and would fit into a newspaper's traditional setup. Also mentioned in the article is the need to define standards and regulations on what is acceptable as well as setting a clear reward system. Most bloggers will take the credit and resulting increase in traffic, others are looking for monetary rewards. There are lots of challenges, but this is a step in the right direction.

In the end, the medium is irrelevant. The web is growing very fast. More and more people get their information online, but traditional print pubs will stick around as long as readers do. The way to keep readers around is to add value, stay relevant and keep innovating. Using blog content in print is one way to do that. Online and offline can coexist together and smart publishers will expand their models (subscription and advertising) to stay relevant and even thrive.

LINK: Check out Bob Glaza's post "Newspapersaurous

UPDATE: Click over to Editor and Publisher to read Craig Newmark's (founder of Craigslist.com) stance on why newspapers are "screwed".


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

What's in a name? Your chance to rename blogging

primitive.jpgWhen the term "blog" was coined in 1999 (weblog was coined before that in 1997) it was done by geeks. Really geeky geeks. Please let it be said here and now that I have nothing against geeks, in fact I am a geek myself. Contrary to most geeks, however, I have harnessed my geekiness for the greater good of marketers everywhere.

Most days, I think about the term blog and despise it. I loathe it. When I tell people that I blog and they look at me like a confused dog (head wobbling from side-to-side) I want to scream. I then have to explain that I author a website that I post advice and opinion to daily. Ding! The light bulb goes off and they get it. The moment of hesitation when explaining blogging to companies, marketers, friends, etc. gets a little tiring.

I often wonder if a marketer had been there at the start what the conversation would have been like. I wonder...

(insert dream sequence fade here)

Scene -- Two geeks sit in a dark room illuminated by monitors and flashing LEDs. The first geek turns to the other and says:

    Geek 1: Dude. I'm logging the web, I'm weblogging. This is a weblog.

    Geek 2: Dude, that rocks. Let's make it an acronym like WL.

    Geek 1: Nah, that's too short for an acroynm. Let's just call it a blog.

    Geek 2: Dude, that's totally awesome. Pass the Mountain Dew.

    Marketer: Um, guys, you can't call it a blog. That doesn't make sense to anybody but yourselves.

    Geek 1: Yes it does dude. We're logging the web.

    Marketer: I know, but you're redefining how people publish information.

    Geek 2: No, we're using complex coding techniques to write scalable architectures on which other coders can share stuff.

    Marketer: True...but lots of people will be using this to publish information. Everybody from school teachers to Saville Row tailors to corporate CEOs.

    Geek 1: Really? Dude, we just want to code man. Leave us alone and turn the damn lights off.

    Marketer: It's a website, you're publishing to it and sharing with others. Let's call it _____________.

What would you have said had you been in the room? Do you share my opinion that the name does more harm than good outside of the blogosphere? Is it so ingrained now that there is no turning back? Let me know by leaving your suggestion in the comments.



Technorati Tags:
, , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Buzz Friday (week of May 4)

buzz_listen.jpg
Here is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to add on.

 

 

Items I think are interesting:

Top Five Technorati Blogs
**This doesn't change so this is the last week I will feature this item**


  1. Engadget
  2. Boing Boing
  3. Gizmodo
  4. Techcrunch
  5. The Huffington Post

View Top 100

Top 10 Technorati Searches


  1. galilea montijo
  2. youtube
  3. myspace
  4. joost
  5. silverlight
  6. next07
  7. digg
  8. britney spears
  9. pandora
  10. shoppero

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. SmugMug
  2. Newsvine
  3. Flixter
  4. Woot!
  5. Revver

More

Top Five Web2.0 Sites (using Alexa data)
**This is also not changing so I will discontinue it and find a new item to include**


  1. YouTube
  2. MySpace
  3. Orkut
  4. Wikipedia
  5. hi5

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden
**Expanded to include top 10 to show more change**


  1. Seth's Blog
  2. Creating Passionate Users
  3. Gaping Void
  4. Duct Tape Marketing
  5. Marketing Shift
  6. Daily Fix
  7. Converstations
  8. New School of Network Marketing
  9. Drew's Marketing Minute
  10. The Viral Garden

View the top full top 25

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Oh Nine, Eff Nine
  2. Happy Feet Trailer
  3. David Hasselhoff Intoxicated
  4. Linkin Park What ive done original clip 2007
  5. Web 2.0 ... Beyond E-text (2nd Draft)

More


Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Interaction rates in rich media

Bloggers Take ManhattanA while back on my trip to NYC I met Mark Goren (this photo is of CK and Mark at that event). We hit it off and have a lot in common with where we are in life and our interests in marketing. I was honored when he asked me to do a guest post on his blog in part of his Question A Day series.

Without further ado, please head over to Mark's blog and check out my take on the answer to the question "What does interaction rate tell me about the impact of my rich media campaign?". Enjoy!


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

The challenges of cultivating a community

Much has been said lately about the Digg.com community censorship and subsequent reversal of their approach. (Paul has a nice take here.) Here is a quick overview to save you time. Digg received a cease and desist letter to remove diggs with a code that can allow people to decode DVDs. Digg removed those posts. Digg banned Diggers. Diggers revolted. Bad press insued. Digg reversed their opinion and will not censor posts. Unknown legal ramifications will surely follow. Have they dugg their own grave? We'll see.

Digg should have known better and really needed to have a plan for a case like this. But, in their defense, this is still the wild west of social media and communities are still making mistakes and creating new rules. The idea of the online community is not new. The social web just connects previously disjointed entities to allow multiple forms of connection within a group of users. So how do you cultivate a community while keeping it in check? I've dealt with quite a few over the years for clients ranging from professional sports teams to consumer packages goods each with rabid followings. Here is my green thumb guide for planting the seed and watching it grow.

Picture 3.pngR-E-S-P-E-C-T. This is the most critical aspect of dealing with any community. People are choosing to spend time on your site and with your brand. Be a gracious host. Offer to help people, welcome new posters. This applies to social networking sites, message boards, blogs, wikis, etc. If you respect them, they'll respect you.

Picture 3.pngSet expectations and boundaries. Another crucial, often overlooked step. Simply state what you will not accept. Foul language, slander, etc. Be specific and enforce your decisions. This is not an excuse to pull off posts or comments that come against you or your products. Be honest with yourself, you'll hear bad things and good things. Engage with both and help people see that you care. (If you don't care, simply stop reading this right now and put up some brochure-ware.)

Picture 3.pngMake decisions public and invite response. If you have a change to policy or you're creating new policy, post it for the group to review and respond to. Don't simply flip a switch overnight. Get your user's buy-in on this and you'll see your sheriffs emerge.

Picture 3.pngFind your deputy sheriffs. In every community I've ever seen there is a small group of people who like to enforce the rules. They tattle on people that break them, monitor new posts and will be very vocal in telling you when somebody is out of line. These are the people that a) you can empower to officially monitor the community to save you time and money and b) they are, more often than not, evangelists. They're super engaged in what is happening and are extremely influential among other users in an authoritarian manner.

Picture 3.pngEnable the 1%. As Ben and Jackie have so eloquently discussed on their blog, about 1% of your community is creating the majority of the content. These people may have some overlap with the sheriffs, but you'll see some new faces in this 1%. They're uploading photos and video, posting comments and adding to the message boards. These are also very influential people, but not in the authoritarian way that sheriffs are, these people are leaders and the go-to people for other users. Evangelists can inhabit this position.

Picture 3.pngEngage with the community. This is the most important way to cultivate a great community. Engage with them. Respond to comments. Respond to the good and the bad. Welcome new users and encourage them to contribute more often. Respect them first and foremost. The best communities I've seen have very active owners. The worst have disconnected, disinterested owners who swoop in to flame users.

These are just a few of the ways to cultivate a great community. In today's socially networked world, people have a lot of options. If you don't provide a supportive, nurturing community chances are one of the users will. Worse than that is when a group gets so disenfranchised with you and your brand that they start a community of haters. Start early and engage often. It's never too late to reclaim a community with these steps.

What other ways have you seen? How have people engaged with you and made you feel welcome to join in?


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Article series at The Madison Avenue Journal

google_blinds.jpgIt seems that everywhere I speak, one of the questions innevitably is "aren't you afraid we're losing personal interaction with all of this technology?". My answer is an emphatic, resounding NO! In fact I tell people that, in my experience, I have been able to form better relationships with people faster using the web, and more specifically by blogging, than in any other medium.

Case in point. I met CK in person a few months ago and I knew it would be the start of a great friendship. CK subsequently introduced me to Tim McHale at The Madison Avenue Journal and my first in a series of articles about Google stalking me came out today. Head over there and check it out. Here is the permalink. Each day this week will unveil a new look at Google and then Monday will culminate in what it all means.


Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Getting to know your customer's passion

What are your customers passionate about? I don't mean what they need or even what they want. I mean the thing that makes them have a spring in their step. The thing that they crave that gets the blood flowing.

It could be jaw dropping design, brilliant transparent technology, or mind-blowing performance. Some companies are better at knowing the answer to this questions than others. Some of those companies that do know the answer still have a hard time delivering on the promise of passion. I ran into a perfect example of this yesterday when I took my car in for service.

upthehill.jpg

First, let me say that I love to drive. I look forward to every trip to and from work when I get to pilot my car. I watch Formula1, NASCAR and Indy car on TV. I have contemplated buying driving shoes (although I have not yet done so). It makes sense that I bought an Ultimate Driving Machine. The car delivers on its promise. Great speed, fantastic handling and completely reliable. On top of that, the service team at my dealer is top notch. I actually look forward to taking my car in. They've treated me with respect, answered all of my questions and, more than anything, really taken the time to get to know me.

My issue wasn't with the service techs. It was the woman running the loaner car program. I had to have new tires put on and regular maintenance done so they needed the car all day. As a benefit, they provide loaners for people to use so they don't miss work and can get around. This is a great service point for any car dealer. So I get there, pull in to the garage and the guys are fantastic, they have a smile on their faces and remember my name. Par for the course (they have set the bar high).

I look over the paperwork and sign on the line. Then they take me to the front counter and the lady that hands out the loaner cars. This is where the experience that I am used to ends. As I stand there, I hear the guy in front of me asking if he can have a specific model car to check out for his wife. I know they have it available for loan because they're all stacked up out front. What does she say? "They're all the same sir. Each one is a great car." Wha? Did She...? This is where my passion radar picked up. Those cars most certainly are all great. That's not he point. A loaned car is like an extended test drive priming users for the newest model and engine class. A fantastic, underused sales tool. On top of that, cars are extremely personal and you, hopefully, connect with one even for a day. The guy just hung his head and was escorted to his car.

0642_04_lg.jpg

So I step up to the counter. I chat with her for a minute about the weather and then I ask "Do you have the 335 (the model) in black?" (I know they have two of them in my view and I love black cars). I can picture myself riding in it and having that influence me to trade up when it comes time to turn mine in.

Guess how she responds? "They're all the same sir." Hell no they're not the same lady! I tried to reason with her, "Well, my lease is coming due and I'd really like to drive the car I am looking at" (never-mind that it's a larger financial commitment). She says, "Sorry, they're all the same, here is yours now." So I turn and look. What do I see? I see, not only the lower powered engine (which I already have), but it's the UGLIEST car color I have EVER seen. They call it "barrique red" and it's the most horrid, grandma-esque color I've come across (no offense if you have this color, like I said cars are very personal). My blood is boiling now. My passion is working in reverse. Not only am I angry, but I don't even want to drive it. I want to get to my meeting, get home and get my car back ASAP. And that's what I did.

It seems that locating the passion of their customer would be easy and they could easily exceed people's expectations. You have a bank of cars to loan. Get people's buy-in. Let people pick, let them connect with the car, up-sell them to the newer, more powerful model while providing great service. Turn this into a sales experience and not just a loaner.

How does this manifest itself in your business? Don't think you have to be a performance car to connect your customer's passion. Do you offer world-class design? I've had similar passionate feelings when I see a fantastic photograph or a perfectly on-target web site design. Do you offer remarkable customer service? Do you anticipate your customer's needs? Do you go above and beyond?

Ideally you can connect your passion as a company/blogger/artist with your customer's passion. That's where the magic happens.

magicpassion.png

People are passionate about wildly diverse elements of life. You'll find as many lava lamp aficionados as you will Lamborghini purists. What examples do you have of someone connecting with your passion? How about someone who didn't recognize your passion?

Lewis Green has a nice post on his blog today about his upcoming book. His post focuses on customer service and how customer service and the sales team is the front line to your customer's brand experience. Head over there and expand the conversation.


Technorati Tags:
, ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.