A Little Focus Can Go A Long Way

We all do this right? We get a little place in the world to tell people what we do, and then we try to sell everything that we can do–not necessarily what we do best. Here we see that Fox’s serves Pizza, Bread, Salads, Wings, Stromboli, Hoagies/Wedgies, and lest you miss it, Frozen Yogurt. If you make the best Stromboli in the city, then it doesn’t matter whether you can make yogurt at all. Every new item or service that we offer has a cost associated with it: actual, opportunity or education. Yogurt, for example, has costs associated with the machine, inventory, operating education and opportunity of NOT selling Strombolis, yet businesses routinely tell their clients everything that they can do. Here are the reasons to tout all of your possible “products:” Increase top line revenue Crowd out competition Respond to customer demand Appeal to “some” customer interest Never learned…

How To Engage (not build) Your Digital Community

When I think of “online communities,” I always go back to Seth Godin’s post about the third guy. It’s a great watch because I am reminded, I’m rarely the first guy–even when I think I’m the first, it turns out that there’s somebody else out there doing the same thing. Marketers and businesses can always set out to engage their customers by turning an intern loose on a Facebook page, but that isn’t what really makes a community. In fact, the brand, if lucky, may be allowed to show just for a minute. The conversation is probably already happening. The community has probably already formed in an open community. If, on the other hand, the company is going to build or engage a managed community, consider the following points:   01. What is the common interest? From best vegan recipes to Honda Civic enthusiasts, communities build around a common interest. Not everyone…

The Power of Story

I LOVE story. Whether telling stories of the most mundane event that happened on the way to the office or recounting a story of tradition passed through my family, stories excite me. Stories have the power to transport me to another place and experience a whole different world. Growing up, The Floyd house was rich with story. Dinnertime was the venue for my dad, an FBI agent, to weave rich tales from the day’s experience to create our own private Miami Vice. As the head of the SWAT team, he was the first in the door and the last to leave the raid, so the experiences were deep. With a breadstick-made-shotgun, he’d make real the story of the arrest with such conviction that no one around the table dared utter a peep. In fact, the family learned to motion for the butter instead of asking as to “politely” not interrupt…

Forget the Marketing Smoke and Mirrors…Just Give Me the Mirror

Don’t get me wrong, smoke and mirrors made P.T. Barnum a fortune. The Greatest “Show” on Earth was indeed a brilliant show, but what he created was a “show.” Magicians and showmen allow the audience to see only what they want them to see. That’s what makes it a show. I tell my clients, “if I do my job well, then marketing is easy…it will be simply holding up a mirror to your organization and reflecting it to the world.” That phrase strikes fear in the hearts of some and surprise in the minds of others as they process the reality of transparency. Organizations often want to smoke out the areas of the company that they want to hide from the world and “advertise” the aspects of their business that they want the world to “buy.” This point is well illustrated in the twenty-eighth thesis of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Most…

Did Google Stick a + in the heart of Facebook and Twitter?

Like others in the social sphere, I’ve been playing around with Google+ since its release last week (thanks to James Herbert). Like the Google Buzz experiment, I’ve been casually playing with it to see how Google envisions their second stand in the social sphere. So, I’m a bit cautious to make any predictions as to whether it is truly the Facebook-Twitter-All-Things-Social killer. If you can imagine the cosmic dust swirling around the big bang in the world of the social cosmos, you have seen bits and pieces of Google+: Wave – Do you remember that experiment? The general idea of allowing groups to share information and have a threaded conversation on a particular topic seemed like an enterprise win, but the lack of notifications and nebulous interface made all wave goodbye. Buzz – It was the Twitter killer, but it ended up being the Buzz kill–for me. The privacy faux…

The Changing Face of Marketing Firms

A few weeks ago another partner of Bluegill and I spoke with a recent college graduate seeking one of those non-existent, executive level, no-experience, marketing jobs. She had a number of questions for us about the industry, and the opportunities that she might pursue while tracking down a job. Then she asked, “what does the agency look like in 2015?” Today, I blogged a response over on the Bluegill Blog.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Abandon Their Blog

Today, I had lunch with one of my best friends, Mark Schaefer. Mark and I first met in 2008 after I direct messaged him through twitter suggesting that we meet for lunch. We met at Aubrey’s and let a lunch hour slip into the afternoon as we began telling our stories. Instantly, we were friends. Within weeks, we began working on several marketing projects together. Since then, about once a month, we meet at the home or away Aubrey’s to catch up, talk about technology, chat about marketing opportunities, or just hang out. Today was one of our regularly scheduled meetings. It’s the first time we’ve had lunch since SoSlam, which  Mark was instrumental in making a phenomenal success. After catching up for a bit, Mark, like any good dyed in the wool evangelist, laid into me: “You’re a good a writer.” “Well, thanks Mark.” “But, no one knows it….

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