Tag Archives: Marketing

I was an Age of Conversation Contributor and Didn’t Even Know It

This is a short post about social media going full circle. Not about long lost relatives, or high school buddies, but a story about social network and social media and why people should just get it.

This morning I checked my email to find a LinkedIn request from Jay Ehret. I don’t know Jay Ehret, but thanks to LinkedIn they require a little information to invite connections. According to Jay, I was a “Business Partner” (more like contributor) to the new Age of Conversation book coming out later this year. This is not completely out of the blue, a few months ago I did contact the editors about contributing, but never heard back. In the meantime, I changed jobs — alas, email — and assumed they found better, more qualified, more enlightening contributors than I could ever be.

But wait, there’s this random guy who said I am. So I did a little research, and found my name on a list of 275 people.

So I contacted Drew and Gavin, hoping it’s not too late to provide a chapter for the new 2008 edition of “Age of Conversation: Why Don’t People Get It?”. Of course it is, they’ve tried contacting me at MaineToday.com and never heard from me. Darn. Maybe next year.

But the point — social media was used to connect with me about writing about social media. Even better, the premise of the book is that people don’t get it. What’s not to get? Here’s your example.

And I’m still going to get the book.

How to Be Creative and the Social Objects That Get People Talking

Many folks know I come from a creative background, I studied painting in college, and first got into marketing via graphic design (back when it was called “desktop publishing”). So when I came across this blog post by Hugh MacLeod on how to be creative, of course I stopped and pondered a bit. First, I thought there was a bit of irony that there’s an organized list on how to be creative. But I liked the list, so I’m posting it here. But take a look at the last item when you get to the end of the list:

So you want to be more creative, in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years:

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.

32. Allow your work to age with you.

33. Being Poor Sucks.

34. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.

35. Savor obscurity while it lasts.

36. Start blogging.

Uh, start blogging?

Well, his point is that blogs help make things happen indirectly. In a world driven by statistics and ROI, blogging can be a creative marketing tool, you just need the time. And eventually, if done well, your blog, or product, will become the “Social Object” – the reason people talk to each other in the first place. And then – voila – the “Social Object” becomes a “node” of your social network.

I think what I like the most is his approach: blog for yourself. I’ve found blogging a daunting task, although I really want to keep up with it. Why? It’s because I think people care, and so it has to be perfectly informative and useful. I don’t want to embarrass myself. But if I remember these tips on How to Be Creative, it really shouldn’t matter, right?

Anyway, it’s heady stuff, and I find it fascinating, and intend to keep plowing through.

A Short Lesson From Political Campaigners

With all of the political jockeying going on, I thought I’d reference an interesting, yet simple, math lesson I just read from the “Swing is King” political segment from Mark Penn’s Microtrends (which I recommend highly).

Imagine 10 people, with a 50/50 split vote (or market share, brand preference, or whatever). If one of those votes coverts to the other candidate, then you’re trailing 60/40. If you acquire a new voter to vote in your favor you’re still trailing behind 55/45. If you attract yet another new voter (or buyer, or user) the split is back at 50/50 (or 6 out of 12).

In other words, you need 3 new people in order to make up for one lost vote (or view, or purchase).

So if you’re sheerly focused on numbers, it makes you think of core audience retention in a whole new way.

Marketing + Content = New Audience

Most of you know I work for a mid-sized newspaper company, and like most newspapers, we’ve been undergoing quite a bit of change lately, forcing me to think about how the marketing department for the “online division” provides value to the organization.

Media, it’s consumption, and as a result marketing to people has become fragmented. Therefore capturing and fulfilling the expectation (need) of a new audience is different. Yet somehow the “Newspaper Online” operational structure and product structure reflects that of “Newspaper”.

Why is this a square peg in a round hole scenario? Well, it’s scalability (thinking large) vs. agility (thinking small). It brings back the theme of applying “New Marketing” to “Legacy Product”; which results only in a “Big Mess”. It no longer works to be everything to everyone anymore.

To attract a new segment we need to think small. Where are these people, what are they doing? With the resources, effort and focus on citizen media, as well as the concern in gaining market share, this is more important than ever.

Also, success is not only defined by the “big number” (pageviews). Measurement of success for new audience includes engagement (pages consumed and time spent) and loyalty (who is coming back).

Attracting new audiences is not all about the technology or platform involved, it’s about outreach and building teams that can do the following:

– Conversational writing, listening: The content becomes the marketing, and vice versa, it’s a two-way conversation.
– Group interactions, events, mingling, networking
– Guerilla marketing


New audience development is about the cycle of the user experience online and offline, with the common goal of creating value for the audience: getting them there and keeping them there.