Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Out to Lunch - back mid-August

taking a sabbatical between now and the beginning of the next big journey...see you some time in mid-august!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Twitter 101 - A Guide for Businesses

I was just recently having a conversation with a social media skeptic who believes that twitter holds no value for businesses, and isn't much more than a service with which people can share the most mundane and unimportant details of their daily drudge with others.

Of course, the truth is that just like any other tool, twitter, by itself isn't good or bad, personal or professional, or anything else - it just is.

That said, the value that you can get out of twitter is simply the result of how much you know about it, and how you apply that knowledge (btw - that's pretty much how everything in life works).

So thanks to the nifty marketers over at twitter, if you're interested in learning more about how you can use their tool to socially brand your business, you can start by checking out Twitter 101 - A Guide for Businesses.

Check it out if you're interested in:

* What is Twitter
* Getting started
* Learn the lingo
* Best practices
* Case studies
* Other resources

You can even download the slides.

Here's the link: http://business.twitter.com/twitter101/

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's really quite simple: Just help people

I've only just recently realized a couple of important things that I wish someone had pointed out sooner - at least in a specific enough manner that I could have understood them.

The first (and probably less important of the two) is this: Professional growth can only come from personal growth. Period. No matter how great you are in your role, if you're not growing and becoming more inspired in your own personal life, then the professional bar, quite simply, isn't going to move up very much - at least not relative to the goals and aspirations most of us have.

The second thing - which I've learned in my personal life, but which is (not coincidentally) having a tremendous impact in my professional life is this: The goal in life is to help as many people as much as you can. And the more you do that, the more successful you will be.

The bottom line is that in both our lives and our professions, we value help above most all else. It's why marketing is awash with terms like "pain points", "problem statements", "empathy", and "challenges". And it's also why business people allocate or influence the allocation of substantial portions of their companies' budgets to solutions that will make their jobs (and lives) easier.

So once you recognize that the individuals you are marketing to are people, and not "just businesses", consider what they really need help with - and here's a hint - it likely goes far beyond the solution you're selling to include things like best practices, peer networking, complimentary education, a good night's rest...the list goes on and on.

But if you can identify what those things are, and give them away freely, you will ultimately find that you are highly valued in your space, and success won't be far behind.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Must-Read post for social media marketers from Viralogy.com: Chris Brogan vs. Seth Godin

Whether you're just getting started with social media or you've been plugging away at it for years, Seth Godin and Chris Brogan are the two most important names you need to know.

Lucky for you, Viralogy just posted a phenomenal comparison of the two experts today, with the ultimate conclusion that "the best strategy as a marketer might be: do what Seth Godin says, but follow what Chris Brogan does."

Essentially - follow Godin on strategy and Brogan on tactics. But beyond that conclusion, Author Yu-Kai Chou goes on to give specific examples of exactly that that means, in the most comprehensive and insightful analysis I've ever seen of these two gurus.

This is one worth bookmarking and revisiting - as there is a tremendous wealth of information and insight to be culled.

Link to the full article on Viralogy.com site is here.

(P.S. - The argument could be made that Malcolm Gladwell could contend for one of those two spots as well - but the truth is that you should keep up with Malcolm anyway - not because of his social media prowess, but simply because of his uncanny gift for exploring and explaining the human psyche in the greater commercial context - as evidenced in this presentation on spaghetti sauce)

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Word-of-Mouth-Marketing in a Nutshell

Thanks to Marketo and xkcd for this comic that sums it up perfectly.

Marketo Interview with Robert Bell - B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment

Of the many marketing blogs I follow, the Marketo Blog, Modern B2B Marketing is consistently one of - if not the most insightful, timely, and relevant.

Yesterday, they posted a terrific interview with Robert Bell, a B2B marketing expert, and co-author of the book, B2B Without The BS.

Immediately I found myself nodding as I read his first answer about our perpetual fascination with "The Next Big Thing" - and how that relates to social media and, specifically, Twitter, in the current marketing environment.

But I quickly became defensive when I started to read the second question that was posed to him:

2. Your book, B2B Without the BS, calls out B2B companies that errantly go to market and try to play by B2C marketing rules...

Since the primary focus of Uncommon Marketing is to improve B2B marketing by learning from B2C, I was certain that my short-lived alignment with this fellow was soon to end. "Errantly"? Give me a break...

Fortunately - I was wrong. In his response to this and subsequent questions on sales and marketing alignment, Robert makes it clear that B2B marketers fail when they borrow strategy from their B2C counterparts - because the fundamentals of B2B marketing are absolutely different, and according to David Meerman Scott, do not change.

Of course we all learn as we go - and so I was thrilled to have read Robert's perspective, as it helps me to clarify my own position on the matter - namely, that the language, the style, the messaging, even the energy - all those tactical components of B2C marketing are where we should look for inspiration. Strategically , however, the two disciplines are worlds apart, and unlikely (if not downright inappropriate) models for one another.

I've already ordered my copy of Robert's book, and look forward to seeing what else he helps me clarify.

Link to the full Marketo Interview is here.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LinkedIn Secrets for PR - from Bulldog Reporter

This is a great article from Bulldog Reporter on how to more effectively build your brand and reach both consumers and journalists through Linkedin.

What I most like about this article, is that it inherently points out the challenge so many b2b marketers face: truly understanding and leveraging social media as a new paradigm rather than a new channel.

The author, Chuck Hester, explains that if you're just out there trying to promote your own brand, without actually contributing to the community, then you're not going to see any results. He states:

"Talk about the issues important to the community, instead of "promoting." LinkedIn, just like any other social networking service, is all about the community. You have to contribute to the community, rather than promote a company or product. Go in with that mindset."

Translation: In the world of social media, if you're not delivering value, then don't expect to receive value.

The great news is that Linkedin makes it very easy to contribute value, and if you can take advantage of that opportunity, you will be quickly rewarded with very real value in the form of brand equity.

The easiest way to do this is to make a habit of scanning Linkedin Answers to see what questions are coming in from your network, and then answering those that best enable you to display your thought leadership and expertise - (and here's the catch) - while actually helping others in the community.

Before you know it, people will be seeking you out proactively and asking you to help them, but not until you've proven you can actually do so.

Direct link to the Bulldog Reporter article is here.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great Presentation from Hubspot Marketing - Marketing Detox: How to Get Off Google AdWords PPC Crack

The title of this presentation really doesn't do it justice. It explains why Paid Search shouldn't really count as inbound marketing and reveals real world b2b social media options and strategies.

This is a great refresher for any web 2.0 marketing expert - and a must see primer for the executives that you're pitching social media to.

Kudos, Hubspot!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

One simple idea that can bring your dead marketing content back to life

In my current role, we're heavily focused on nurture marketing. At the core of this strategy is an ongoing series of white papers and articles from experts in our space that we deliver via a monthly email newsletter and periodic email campaigns.

Of course, we pay for a lot of this content, and to some extent, once we've sent a paper to our audience, we tend to avoid re-purposing it to ensure that we maintain a reputation for fresh, high-value content.

Recently though, like everyone else, we've had to try to do more with less. And in trying to figure out just how to do that, one of my co-workers came up with an ingenious idea for packaging 2-3 similar papers together to create a "Master Series".

We realized that many of our audience members had downloaded at least one (if not more) of the papers in each group, but as our contact list grows, we also realized that many new contacts hadn't seen all the papers in each group, and that by repackaging and positioning them as a master class, we could get more mileage out of the content we already had.

And the results were fantastic. In fact, the masters series we've put together so far have performed better than any of the individual papers included.

Here's the first one we rolled out:

These were literally just 3 papers that we had "hanging around" - but we packaged them together, threw together a new hero shot, and the next thing you know, we've got marketing gold.

Next, we put together a "Field Guide" in the same way, using multiple papers from a single author and actually achieved even better results:

Do you have any "stale" content hanging around that you can re-purpose? What was the value your audience got from the content the first time around? If you know the answer to that, then just consolidate your best relevant assets, up the ante on the value prop, and watch the leads roll in.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009