Glance Links – January 2015

30 01 2015

business-balance

Just some marketing stuff that caught my eye recently… lots of talk about balance – in business and life! If you have any that you would like to pass on, please share!

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Does Posting More Content Lead to More Engagement? – The big bass drums have been beating for several years now… Boom! Boom! Create More Content! Boom! Boom! They’ve been drowning out the tiny tom-toms that have been trying to tell us that the glut of content will ruin us all. This article from Marketing Profs measures content engagement over the past two years, and it’s not pretty. But it’s great data and worthy of some thought. Do we back off some? Start looking at quality more than quantity to achieve an equilibrium? Zen Marketing, if you will…

Bridging The Gap Between Sales & Marketing – Last week I was asked by a friend to sit in on a new kind of discussion. Pat Walsh is an experienced marketer who has also spent decades as a facilitator in a variety of professional environments. Pat’s recognition of a gap between sales and marketing is not groundbreaking, but his presentation and conversation techniques could be. I’m not sure if there are many others out there that have the chops to build this bridge in your organization. Check him out!

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The Four Agreements – After much prompting by some friends, I bought this book and read it. I’m not a motivational, self help, incense burning kinda guy. But the author has been on Oprah for god’s sake!! I liked the book… it seems simple enough and I get the benefits of the behaviour he wants us to aspire to. But as I was reading I couldn’t help sifting out the kumbaya moments and applying these tenets to a business environment. I find that being impeccable with my word, not making assumptions, not taking anything personally, and always doing my best has made my business life a lot more palatable. It’s how I’d like to be going forward, and definitely how I’d like the people on my team to be.

Social Feeds: Why The Intern Can’t Do ItWe’ve all heard this… young people are native internet users so it’s logical that they should handle your social media postings. But there is much more to it, and Ed Lynes explains it succinctly and, dare I say, brilliantly.

One more thing… “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius” ~ Pietro Aretino… Nah! That didn’t warm me up either!





Vote, Or Not

4 11 2014

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Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I voted this morning… stopped in on my way to work. I got the sticker to prove it! I politely refused the candidate handouts on my way in, and I said my “hellos” the nice poll workers who are also my neighbors. I was in and out in three minutes.

Voting always makes me feel good about myself, and my country. I firmly believe that my vote counts, and in some small way I am involved in shaping our laws and policies. It’s interesting there is nothing explicitly stated in the constitution about our “right to vote”, only amendments that guard against discrimination – age, race, sex, etc. But the language of our constitution fills us with the pride and sense of duty that many have. We often talk of the battles fought to ensure this pride, and of those that “have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”*

True patriots have made those sacrifices, not me. But I am patriotic. I feel that pride very strongly, and voting is how I express it best.

The news is reporting about expected low voter participation, and which candidates will be adversely or positively affected. Reporters are at the various polling places talking about turnout or issues with machines. The pundits are having their day… their fifteen minutes of fame.

My social media feed is full of people talking about how they got out and voted this morning… Awesome! I’m glad. There are also statements saying that “if you don’t vote today, you have no right to complain in the future”. This notion that participating in the election gives you more rights than others makes me uneasy.

handRights… such an interesting word. Technically, most of us are “allowed” to vote without restriction. But like anything else, there are rules we have to follow… registrations, residency, frequency, etc. When we talk about rights, we should make sure that we fully understand them.

My feeling is that if you don’t vote today, you have your reasons. Maybe a last-minute business trip or perhaps you are sick or unable to get out of your house. Or maybe the candidates or issues didn’t inspire you – a sadly increasing situation.

If the spirit of our constitution inspires us to have the freedom to vote, then part of that freedom must be the choice not to vote. I’m not a constitutional law scholar, but this is the sense I make of it. So, while I revel in the opportunity to vote, I won’t look down on those who don’t think as I do.

Vote, or don’t vote. And complain all you want… enjoy that freedom of speech!

LET’S NOT GET INTO THAT MESS!

* Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby, 1864





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!