Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation

Is it important to be connected? Mitch Joel, Author of Six Pixels of Separation and President of TwistImage believes we no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation. In fact, we’re now down to only six pixels of separation, which changes everything we know about doing business.

Last week we had the chance to sit down for a session with Mitch who discussed how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

It’s was great chatting with Mitch and I, personally, learned a ton during this session.  He has great insight and case studies and has a unique way of simplifying social media marketing in a way the makes it easy to understand the benefits as well as how to get started.  We talked a little bit about the future of social media, how to build vibrant online communities and how marketers can be successful using social media.  The recording is below, I hope you enjoy it.

The conversation on Twitter was also terrific.  Here are my top 10 observations from some of the people joining the conversation on Twitter:

  1. @JayFleischman: 48% of leisure time is spent online
  2. @elysa every single day 20% of ALL searches on Google are searches that have NEVER been done before #awarenessinc
  3. @MVMNT_Mike: If you want to enter social media, do something now! Don’t worry about mistakes, learn along the way #awarenessinc
  4. @REMdreamtime: strategy component is sorely missing from digital agencies via @mitchjoel #awarenessinc
  5. @NunesThompson: Always ask WHY! Say why you’re on #SM, not the fact that you’re on it. #awarenessinc
  6. @AprilMPhillips: “It’s more about your attitude and not about your age.” // @mitchjoel on social media // So true! #awarenessinc
  7. @elysa: 6 things you can do RIGHT now: 1)acceptance 2)digital augments not instead of traditional marketing #awarenessinc (cont) 3)every opt is chance to build/share/grow 4)open up and share more 5)it’s about your attitude not your age #awarenessinc
  8. @garyasanchez: brands need to create online strategy: why are they on twitter rather than just being on twitter – build community! #awarenessinc
  9. @RonArden: #awarenessinc The shiny new objects are just a bunch of tools. You need to decide what to do with these tools to make them useful.
  10. @tamadear: Why are peer reviews trusted more? Because we think our peers’ motivation is closer to our own. #awarenessinc

I have to admit, at first I was hesitant about participating in this.  I have never been into fashion.  In fact, I’ve never really gone clothes shopping before.  I mean, I have obviously purchased clothing in the past but for the most part those purchase were impulsive.  If I see something I like I buy it.  If it looks comfortable and relaxed chances are I’ll wear it.  The one criticism I typically receive is I buy clothes multiple sizes too big.  I hate wearing things that are tight… I hate being uncomfortable.

This is important because a few weeks ago I was asked by my good friend Christine Major if I’d be interested in getting a “make over”.  She told me I’d be perfect for an event called “Making over the Men of Social Media“.  I’m still not sure if being told that “I would be perfect for a make over” is a good thing or a bad thing, but I digress…  Frankly, I didn’t think I needed a makeover.  I’d classify my look as “casual” – jeans, sweatshirt, birkenstocks – the kind of style that would make Bill Belichick jealous.  However, after consulting with my wife, I decided it may not be a bad idea to take @AskEmmi up on her offer and go through with the makeover.

My initial vision of the make-over was that I would be taken to some high-end store and attacked by the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and would involve getting my nails done, body waxing, eye brow trimming and all of those “stereo-typical” things associated with make-over’s.  To my surprise, this was all about shopping.  With credit card in hand I met up with Emmi on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on Newbury Street in Boston where we went shopping at stores like Frank Stella and Lord & Taylor.  Here is the video of my personal shopping experience which was shown at the show that took place earlier this week.

I ended up getting some great stuff that complimented my style at Frank Stella’s in Boston.  The event was great and I should have video of that soon as well!  It was especially great to hang out with the other models (Jeff Glasson, C.C. Chapman, Stuart Foster, Adam Zand, and Mike Schneider) in the “green room”.  Thanks @AskEmmi!

A couple of weeks back we conducted a live, streaming session with Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs and Co-Author of Trust Agents with Julien Smith.  It’s always great chatting with Chris and this session was no exception.  He has some great case studies and really interesting insights on how to use social media as part of your marketing mix and how to grow vibrant communities.

Below is the link to the session and I hope you enjoy it.

Trust Agents with Chris Brogan

A special thanks to Matthew Mamet and our friends at PermissionTV for helping to bring this session together on short notice!  As you view the highlights of the session notice that the video has been edited to focus on the areas that are most interesting to the viewer.  This is both cool and beneficial as is makes for an awesome viewer experience.  If you are looking for software to support streaming video, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to check them out.

Last week I hosted a webinar featuring Brian Solis called “Socializing your Corporate Brand”.  I had not had the chance to meet Brian prior to last week but had read his book “Putting the Public back in Public Relations” and have seen him speak on a couple of occasions.  What I like most about Brian’s talk was his use of actual, real-life, tactical examples that marketers can use today to start communicating in the social web. The session didn’t focus on theory and spent time addressing the tactical questions of the audience which made for an excellent session.  Here are some of the highlights I took away from our conversation:

  1. “Social media is about sociology, NOT technology”
  2. Transparency alone isn’t sufficient on the social web.  You need to be authentic, believable, and passionate.
  3. Have you seen the conversation prism yet?
  4. It’s the quality of the people that you align with, not the numbers & quantity.
  5. Rules that govern social media are same as rule social interaction but one: more gets said online than face to face.
  6. Any conversation that takes place on the social web will map directly to a department in your company (and it’s not only marketing)
  7. Marketers need to evolve and “Uncampaign”. Contribute more than you consume.
  8. Invest in the exchange, it’s about conversation.  Listen then engage.
  9. Most effective use of social media is when you can tie it to a business goal.
  10. Haven’t you heard? Everyone is a social media expert! Its digital Darwinism, not everyone is going to make it.

Below is the recording of the session with Brian.

I had an interesting conversation with Dave Carter yesterday that got me thinking (scary, I know).  Dave was telling me how he’s getting kind of frustrated with the volume of tweets from some of the “Twitterati” who share the seemingly “mundane” details of their lives, like waiting in line at Starbucks, getting their car cleaned, etc.  I have been hearing this complaint a lot lately and frankly, I’m not sure why.

No question, it can’t be denied that there is a ton of noise on Twitter and it can be difficult to navigate.   I like some of the noise and some of it I don’t.  While agree with the point about the amount of noise, I personally don’t find it annoying because I am in control of what I pay attention to.  I can choose who and what I listen to and selectively tune out things I don’t care about.

In some ways I look at it like the radio.  For example, I am a huge fan of Howard Stern.  I listen to him every morning on the commute to the office and every night on my way home.  In fact, I don’t think I have changed the station from Howard 100 in the last 6 months.  That said, I don’t agree with or like everything Howard has to say.  Some of the segments about his personal life (walking his dog, going to his parents house on the weekends, etc) I find really boring.  Some guests are just terrible and some topics are just beat to death by his crew.  That said, by and large I love what he talks about.  In the case of Howard, I am willing to live with the things I don’t like because the majority of his content is great.  When things get boring, I have the option of changing the station.  If the majority of his content ever became unbearable for me, I also have the option of never tuning in again.  Point is, like on Twitter, I always have the option of selectively ignoring what I’m not interested in.

On Twitter you don’t have to like everything, or listen to everything, the people you are following have to say.  You can follow individuals and use tools like TweetDeck to select what you read and what you want to pay attention to.  If you find yourself uninterested in a majority of some one’s content you always have the ability to “change the channel” or “unfollow” them.  The control you have over what you listen to is one of the reasons I am a fan of Twitter, and social media in general.

The long and short of it is, it’s easy to listen to the content or individuals you find interesting and selectively ignore the rest.

photo credit: niznoz

It’s right there in black & white for the world to see.  I can’t deny that I made a mistake.

Yesterday afternoon we sent out an email promoting today’s webinar featuring Brian Solis.  The message went through several revisions and we missed a typo that was right there in the headline.  A mistake that we simply didn’t catch.  The title of Brian’s talk today is “Socializing your Corporate Brand”.  Our email referred to it as “Socializing your Corporate Crand“.  What can I say.  Honest mistake that slipped through the cracks.  My bad.

What I find funniest about the mistake is people’s reaction to it.  We got a bunch of messages following what I will call the “typo email” and the responses seem to fall into three buckets:

1. “No Comment”

The overwhelming majority of responses sounded something like this.  “This sounds like an awesome session.  Thanks for putting together such a great webinar schedule!  Keep me posted on additional sessions you add.”  Of all the responses we received yesterday, this was by far the most common.  To the people in this camp, rest assured our sessions are not only continuing but we have some excellent guests lined up for the coming months (beyond what is currently listed on the site)…  Stay tuned!

2. “Heads Up”

These responses were generally from people letting us know something was up in a friendly way.  For example, Patrick Rafter wrote back with “Hey Mike, looks like you have a typo in the first line.  That said, the event looks great.  Can’t wait to attend!“.  It seems the people in this bucket realized it was a mistake and figured they would bring it up to make sure we were aware.  This is likely the bucket I would fall into as I have made mistakes before and realize that, while undesirable, these things happen.

3. “Holier Than Thou”

As my mom would say “there are always a few in every group“.  To be clear, we only had a handful of responses that fell into this category. This small group of “holier than thou” people, apparently, have never made a mistake in their lives and they take great pride in developing sarcastic responses like “What the heck is a ‘Crand’?  You should proofread your emails. Very unprofessional.” or “With such a glaring typo I can’t image I would get value out of one of your sessions“.

Really?  Just so I understand, your reaction to having one letter wrong in a message is to conclude that Brian (who had noting to do with the mistake) will provide no value during his session?  To all these people all I can do is first, express our apologies for the mistake and second, respectively ask that you come off your marketing high horse and come back to reality.  Mistakes happen people.

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BMA Boston Board at Fenway Park; Winter 2007

BMA Boston Board at Fenway Park; Winter 2007

There must be a better model for running a marketing association.  I’ve been a member of multiple “M.A.’s” (BMA, DMA, AMA, etc) and I think my expectations are pretty simple.  Mostly I am looking for two things: (1) education and (2) networking.  While I do have a straightforward mission, i do have additional expectations.  I want the group(s) (or associations or communities) to understand my needs and wants as a marketer without letting the officer’s personal interests get in the way.  I don’t want to go to an event where I learn about a dated topic (like “the value of printing”) or, even worse, a session where I am forced to sit through a product pitch. I want to network with peers who I can learn from, not a group of vendors trying to sell me stuff every time I meet them. I expect a balance of “meet-ups” and educational events. I want the dialogs that start at physical events to continue long after the hand shake  and I expect social media to play a role in helping to facilitate that ongoing conversation. I want the leadership of the association to listen to my needs and wants and use them as the basis for developing programming. In general, I expect a positive customer experience. Is that too much to ask?

I say this because I have been actively involved in marketing associations for roughly the last 12 years.  In fact, I ran the Boston Chapter of the Business Marketing Association for about 3 years. During that time, the chapter saw its largest growth both in terms of revenue and membership, won three awards, hosted the most successful and profitable physical events in the group’s history and launched a webinar series that was syndicated nationally throughout regional chapters and attracted attendees from as far away as Japan, Europe and Australia.  We succeeded in repositioning the group’s perception in the market from a traditional stodgy association run by vendors to a group on the cutting edge of marketing.

I left the organization in January of this year because I was watching the association fall victim to the same mistakes it had made previous to my tenure.   The topics were tired, the events seemed stale and the speakers didn’t sound engaging.  I’d really like to see the group expand on it’s momentum and embrace new speakers/topics to help stay on the cutting edge.  Without getting into details, the final straw for me was an email stating rather bluntly “I don’t care about us executing on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or any other social network” and inferring that new types of marketing would not have a place in the chapter moving forward. In a time where many marketers are looking for more education on social media and are turning to their marketing associations to help figure it out, the group opted not to focus any effort or energy in educating their members on the benefits of this approach.  Given my passion for the space and my belief in social media, I decided it was best to part ways.

I am sharing my background with you, not to toot my own horn or throw anyone under the bus, but to help make a point.   Since I left the BMA I have looked long and hard at many of the other marketing associations out there and have come to the conclusion that none fulfill my needs. My view is tainted but it seems like most groups are operated by a select group of individuals that appear to have their own interests in mind – whether it is finding a job, selling a product or service or something else.  Sorry if my view offends anyone.  I do understand that my observations are a generalization – I’m sure there are individuals and chapters that have other interests at heart but I haven’t run across them in the recent past.

Granted, my experience in the last six months has likely made me cynical towards associations but I am looking for your opinion.  Are marketing associations, in general, going the way of the dinosaur? Do you belong to any and if so, which are the best? If you were running the show, what would you do differently?   What do you expect from the groups you are a member of?

As part of Awareness’ “Best Practices in Social Media” podcast series, Paul Gillin sat down with Jeremiah Owyang (Sr Analyst at Forrester) to chat about how businesses can use online communities to better engage with customers.  I enjoyed the interview a lot and hope you do as well.  Thanks to Paul and Jeremiah for taking the time to connect in person.

If you are interested in subscribing to the podcast series, click here.

I have probably seen Larry Weber speak 5 or 6 times and I have read both his books (“The Provocateur” and “Marketing to the Social Web“).  I am amazed at how much I continue to learn from him and I continue to be a fan of how he thinks.

View more presentations from Mike Lewis.

The slides above are from a presentation (Twebinar) Larry did this afternoon with my company, Awareness.  Larry provided a ton of useful information during today’s session.  I have enough content to write a series of blog posts but instead here is a summary of my 10 favorite quotes from his presentation:

  1. “We are actually in Web 4.0 or the “emotive” web (showing emotions through social media).  Also, the future web is highly visual.”
  2. “The future of the web is “microsegmentation” and video.  In fact, Facebook will fail if it does not microsegment.”
  3. “While behavioral targeting will get you to the door, learning how to listen and carry on a conversation is how companies will be successful going forward.”
  4. “Social media is still not out of the broadcast era.”
  5. “It’s important to know that traditional web measurement doesn’t work with Twitter.”
  6. “Marketers need to develop strategies around “social search”.”
  7. “Next generation of email is Facebook and Twitter, but digital marketing is never done”
  8. “Marketing is going to get harder before it gets easier: we’re organized wrong and too focused on buying customers and tasks”
  9. “You can’t control the conversation, you can only control the quality of your content.”
  10. “Your brand is the the dialog you have with your customers.”

If you have not read Larry’s book “Marketing to the Social Web” I recommend buying a copy and reading it today.  It’s a great book and the proceeds go to charity.

How cool is this?