Brand Her Caitlyn

3 06 2015

“I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people. If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that. Yeah, this is a business.” ~ Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair

caitlyn-jenner-tweets-welcome-bruce-leadI’d love to be saying “bravo” to Caitlyn Jenner, but I can’t. Before the PC police attack me, please understand that I do believe that being transgender is real and not to be ridiculed. And the people who bring hate to this conversation are the lowest of the low. I firmly believe that if her transformation helps one person better deal with theirs, it’s a very good thing.

But it should be clear to everyone that yesterday’s coming out is more E! Network marketing of the next product of the Kardashian cash machine. The amount of money – hundreds of millions – being made with this initiative alone is obscene, and should not be applauded… unless there are plans for transgender support facilities across the nation. I doubt that very much.

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Click to movie link…

I watched a tremendous documentary (Trinidad) last weekend about people undergoing gender reassignment surgery. It follows the process and lives of several people, including doctors, patients and their families. Needless to say, the transformation experience for Caitlyn Jenner has been a little different for the women in this film. All of them were concerned with the impact this decision has on their families, friends, careers – and how they can support each other. They lean on many for support, and witnessing that journey is revealing and life affirming.

None of them had media advisors, professional make-up and fashionistas, or a pre-op Annie Leibovitz photo shoot. It’s a stark contrast…

Bruce Jenner has been called “brave” to put himself out there, but he is extremely well compensated. And it’s clear from his time in the reality TV world that he does not care about public’s impression of him. But Caitlyn Jenner is a brand, launched simultaneously in Vanity Fair, on Twitter, and on this week’s Kardashian episodes. Her bravery diminishes with each check she deposits, with the Kardashians careening towards their goal of dumbing a generation of young Americans. Her biggest impact is taking a sensitive, complicated issue and creating a circus. The truly brave are the thousands of transgender people around the world… pushing forward, mostly alone.

The attention of the public will eventually move on the next big thing. And the collective strength of the transgender community will continue to support their own, and be worthy of our admiration.

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Reviewing Ascend Summit 2014

26 10 2014

10608268_10152699765736880_3145006299031809068_oLast week I attended a marketing conference. I’ve been to dozens in my career and I am very careful choosing which to attend. With the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and because I’m very picky, very few have been disappointing in giving great information.

But I was completely blown away by last week’s Ascend Digital Marketing Conference put together by AWeber Communications. It was billed as “an exchange of ideas, information, strategies and success stories designed to elevate your business to the next level”, and each presenter was a top expert in the field of content creation and digital marketing.

It was tough to whittle down all of the information I received, but here are my top five takeaways from an outstanding two days…

1. “We don’t need more content, we need better content.” The first presenter, Ann Handly, set the tone that this conference was going to be something special. I was halfway through her book – “Everybody Writes {Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content}” – so I was well aware of her fresh, honest approach to writing and content creation. The formula is simple – Useful x Empathy x Inspired = Great Content. The importance of the math is the multiplication, and if one of the key aspects is missing your product is a big fat zero. But to ensure relevance, ask yourself after every point… “so what?” You’ll end up with focused content that your customer will come back to.

2. “Having an audience is a privilege, not a right. Like wearing spandex. So you better be relevant.” Clearly the spandex part was an attention-getter, but Peter Shankman doesn’t need that. His upcoming book – “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans” – is about creating fervent fans that help companies massively increase their customer base, brand awareness, and most importantly, revenue. I ordered the book as soon he was done. Shankman’s high energy presentation included tons of great information and best practices gleaned from years of entrepreneurial experience. The highlights included:

  • “Never underestimate the power of getting up early. Before everyone else. You’ll do your best work with the perception of that edge.”
  • “Put ten times the amount of help into the universe to one time you ask for it.” Sounds like obvious karma, and a tough number to hit, but I’d like to do more things for the good of the game.
  • Call ten people in your contact list everyday. Check in. “What are you working on? How can I help you?” More good going out…
  • In America… we expect to get treated like crap by customer service. The simple things make us loyal. “Treat your customers one level above crap.”

3, “Only 60% of marketers do A/B email testing.” As one of the disgraced forty percent, I squirmed in my seat during Anne Holland’s presentation. Methodologies are documented in many places, but my important takeaway was to get off my ass and do it. Getting better results from our current list reminded me of a sales belief I have repeated so many times – the greatest opportunities lie within your existing base. I need to make sure I am getting the most from my current list.

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4. “Treat your customers as you would like to be treated.” No one works the room like Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion. His stunningly simplistic approach and equally stunning results should change the world of marketing, if we can get all out of our own way. His many rules included: “Treat your customers as you would like to be treated”, “Become the Wikipedia of your space”, and his four word philosophy… “They ask. You answer.” Sheridan’s ultimate belief is that “Honest and Transparent content is the greatest sales tool in the world. Period.” That last statement left everyone clapping and invigorated. But seriously… who in the room is going to have the balls to fully implement?

5. “Don’t worry about the fold. Embrace the scroll.” Our partying group unsuccessfully tried to get Justine Jordan from Litmus to hang with us late into the night. We were rewarded by HER good decision to make it an early night. Her leadoff presentation on the importance of formatting your email for mobile devices perfectly set the tone on day two. Forget about the increasing number of emails that are delivered to your phone… the real grabbing statistic is that over 80% of users delete emails if they don’t look good on their device. And a growing number of people will unsubscribe. Lesson learned! Maybe I’m late to the party, but now EVERY email I do will be optimized for mobile.

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Commander AJ and his little buddy…

Some other great tidbits and soundbites from the two days of sessions:

“Consume more than you produce! Subscribe to ten blogs in a day, leave ten comments. Follow people on social – set an example, show the initiative.” – Lynette Young (AWeber Communications)

“Stop driving clicks and start building cliques.” – Will Reynolds (SEER Interactive)

“Next time I need advice from someone, I’m going to ask someone who hates me.” – Peter Shankman

“Analyzing audience needs? Get out of your own head. We don’t need segways, but cup holders are a must!” Jessica Ivins (Center Centre)

“Email is not an eblast. Blasts are weapons of mass destruction.” – Justine Jordan

“Your website is mousetrap, your marketing is the cheese.” – Andy Crestodina (Orbit Media)

“Brand everything you do. If people can’t get back to you, what’s the point?” – Peter Shankman

Last but not least, the conference attendees were also the cream of the crop… so the networking opportunities were fantastic. Plus.. some great food and swag! Few conferences give this much bang for the buck. I joked with Hunter Boyle, AWeber’s Sr. Business Development Manager, at the end of day two that they had nowhere to go but down. Can’t wait until my expectations are exceeded again next year.

Please share your thoughts on this conference. What were your takeaways? Also… What would your theme music be? I’m going with “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, but I’m a known head banger… Hope to see you next year!





Flippin’ Facebook

8 07 2014

cs9NN“I’ve had it with Facebook.” ~ John Q. Public

How many times have you heard this complaint? The constantly changing layout, hard to follow rules, more ads in your news feed, and the dwindling reach for company pages… flippin’ Facebook is a nightmare! Users can’t comprehend how Facebook has the nerve to make changes to the FREE site they love so much, and company page owners are mad that they now actually have to PAY for Facebook advertising. It’s exasperating!

Users need to relax. Breathe… Embrace the changes, because they are almost always designed to give you a more positive experience. The ads are the price you pay for using Facebook for free. And be honest, you get enough out of the Facebook experience to justify putting up with a few ads in your News Feed. The reality is that everyone has the right to make money – including the gods of Facebook. To think otherwise is Un-American! Truthfully, I can’t believe they took this long to end the free ride for company pages.

I’ve been speaking with a lot of small business owners about the decreasing reach of Facebook company posts. While we have been lamenting the decline, it should cause us to embrace and understand exactly what Facebook advertising can do. That “free” ride has been over for a while now, but Facebook is still the best way to target specific customers.

20130812-full1If you have been doing it correctly, you have built a Facebook following of the right people – people who want to do business with you. And you have been providing them with good content that helps grow your business. “Boosting” those great posts to your loyal “listeners” must now be a part of your budget. Low cost Promoted Posts not only reach your followers but can be expanded further to reach potential customers, by using specific demographic targeting and keywords – at very affordable prices.  I’m not saying that every post deserves boosting, because your core customers will probably visit your page frequently. Pick your spots and, most importantly, track your results.

Boosting works. Ads are similar, and certainly hit a wider audience. Think about spending $50 to reach 10,000 very specific people… Can that be accomplished with any other traditional B2C advertising method?

Whether you do a Facebook Ad or a Promoted Post, dedicate a portion of your marketing budget to make a big impact. If you are a small business it is a no-brainer. You’ll wonder why you weren’t doing this all along.

And quit yer whining…





Glance Links – April 2014

28 04 2014

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts! If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

Internet-Addiction-Social-MediaSocial Media For Increased Mental Health – Many thanks to Chuck Hall from SoMeBizLife for sharing this article that examines the positive and negative effects of social media, specifically Facebook. Chuck used this article as a discussion point in a recent seminar, and I’m sure it really got the conversation off and running. What are your thoughts?

Some Thoughts on the Imminent Demise of Google+ – Three words… “It ain’t happening!” I’ve recently been beating the streets about the wonders of this platform, which I think is extremely worthwhile for the search boost alone. The recent resignation announcement of Google+ champion Vic Gundotra has set the interwebs abuzz with panic. Two of my purple haired friends (not saying I have many), Lynette Young and Cecily Kellogg, recently shared how fantastic articles on the subject. The common theme is DON’T PANIC. Here are the two articles they shared:

The Power of FailingWhat do the world’s greatest entrepreneurs have in common? The courage to fail. Checkout this article and discover why failure is the ultimate driving force behind genius.

failingThe Experts Speak – The most common question I hear from small businesses interested in social media is, “Where do I start?” Here is some great information from the email marketing site, Constant Contact… 50 Expert Tips for Getting Started in Social Media. It’s cool that I know some of these people, including one of the aforementioned purple haired friends

Spring has sprung. May it bring to you many exciting ideas… JL





Glance Links – February 2014

5 02 2014

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts! If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

pro_laptopemail_275x185Six Social Media Tips That Will Improve Your Marketing – You’ll slap yourself on the head when you read some of these completely random, unique social media tips.

5 Steps to Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation – I’ll be honest… LinkedIn endorsements annoy me. For the last two years, many click-happy people have been gleefully endorsing me for skills that I do not possess. I don’t like to shop, so my endorsements for Retail and Merchandising were quite a surprise. I put much more stock into a LinkedIn “recommendation”. Because of the quid pro quo aspect of social media, I know I better write some to get some. Check out this link for some great info.

Real World Education for Modern Marketers – Like some of my favorite sites (AWeber, Marketo), MarketingProfs provides tons of outstanding free content on a wide variety of marketing subjects. Peruse the site, you’ll be glad you did.

Navigating the Social Media Jungle – If you look past the cartoonish appearance, Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers. Simple… Best thing to do is subscribe to the newsletter to get it all in your inbox, but dig into the site for some nuggets.

ffb11958Too Much Fun With Fonts – Lastly, have some fun today. Here are some very familiar, free fonts from famous brands like Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, The Godfather movies, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. So jazz up that condo community newsletter you’ve been working on!

My life has been ice and snow lately, and lots of it! GIMME MORE!!! Stay warm, my friends… JL

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Glance Links – December 2013

3 12 2013

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts!  If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

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14 Google Tools You Didn’t Know Existed – Mashable has rounded up some lesser-known Google tools and applications that could help you cope with the loss of Reader, and rekindle your love for Google. From fun tools like Google NGram Viewer to useful resources like Full Value of Mobile Calculator, you’ll find an array of tools for developers to small business owners to the average consumer. I liked Google Fonts… a great open source for all kinds of type faces. Check them out and see what tickles your fancy!

10 Things You Didn’t Know Dropbox Could Do – There are loads for Dropbox lovers out there… me included! As with most software or services, we never fully take advantage of what’s offered. There are other storage and upload options, and ease of use hints. Love me some Dropbox!

google-plus-banner-300x168Google+ For Professional Bloggers and Content Creators – If you want to be the best, learn from the best! Lynette Young is THE authority on Google+, and she is satisfying the public outcry for real boot camp training on this social platform. This one is in the Philadelphia area, check back for an event near you.

Marketo Definitive Guides – Last month I shared Marketo’s Definitive Guide To Engaging Email Marketing, an outstanding, comprehensive free download. They have many more titles and they are all in here in one spot! Like I said last time… Download them before they change their minds!!

TAKE A BREAK FROM MARKETING AND RELAX! – Might be the best tip I give you… flip the switch to “off” for a few hours and enjoy some holiday fun. Here is the schedule for Holiday TV Shows this month!

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!





Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

24 10 2013

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“Just gonna have to be a different man.” ~ “Changes” by David Bowie

This year I made a commitment to change. I’m not talking about the cliché New Year’s resolution about eating better or a getting a gym membership – although my achy knees would appreciate the effort.  My goal was to take a good look at what I was doing personally and professionally, and promise I would make some changes… positive moves to make my life better.

What did I do? In a nutshell, I decided to look at things differently… my relationships, my political and moral views, my work – everything! I moved a few close relationships to hibernation, and awakened a few more. I expanded my personal and professional network to include people who provide joy and challenge. I took a hard look at my beliefs, and afforded myself blank slates to help reevaluate them. And I decided to do tackle some creative things… blogging, reading, and playing the ukulele. (The uke is shelved right now, but I’m committed to getting back to it by the end of the year. Much to the chagrin of my family and close neighbors.)

Although I’m happy with my progress, there is more work to be done. It’s good stuff and I’m filled with optimism.

It’s only late October, so this not a year-end project status report. Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a going away party for a friend. This person is an author I’ve gotten to know over the past year, and the gathering included other writers and recent acquaintances. The common thread was that they were all very creative people.

In my year of change I’ve been very fortunate to have met and spent quality time with people who have really inspired me. Authors, newspaper reporters, marketers, artists, photographers, videographers, bloggers, musicians, etc. I’ve always been fascinated by the creative process, and how talented people do that voodoo that they do so well. How they see something, and are able to form it into a story, a movie, a painting or a song.

Last night I was reminded of my biggest key to change – surrounding myself with creative, positive people as much as possible. They have inspired me to write, to read, to think, and to even play the ukulele. Creative people help expand your mind, and they’re good for the soul.

Oh… wine works too!

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