What can the father of Mad Men advertising teach us about Social Media success?

I came across a blog on the Masterful Marketing success of David Ogilvy this morning and while reading began to ponder on how much of his “great marketing” lessons are still relevant to social media marketing today…

madmen_twitter

Here are the 5 big take away lessons from David Ogilvy as listed in the blog.  Below I attempt to put them within the framework of Social Media Marketing and to update them accordingly…

1. “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.”

Social media is not a campaign — although you can create a campaign when executing your social media and while good ideas about content and the “market conversation” are still vital — more important is the conversation that allows for the “audience” to participate and the opportunity to promote them.  No longer is it just about your “big idea”, smart marketers today focus on building relationships first.

2. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” 

Business in 2013 is the “end of  business as usual” — Brian Solis has shown us that. Businesses in Canada are in the bubble of a very old mindset, one that is risk adverse and complacent after having 100 years of resource based commodities fueling it. The only ones that are selling anything new are those consultants and marketers who have embraced social media and see a future where unless Canadian businesses become more human they are destined to become obsolete in the next decade. Canadian businesses are going to miss the opportunity to connect with their audience who being online have options to connect with global competitors, like our American cousins, who are focused on building social media relationships at all costs.

3. “I abhor advertising that is blatant, dull, or dishonest. Agencies which transgress this principle are not widely respected.”

In today’s market place the agencies still have control over much of the advertising space as together they and the larger businesses continue to support old school marketing and advertising campaigns. Small and medium enterprises, for the most part, have their heads in the sands and are trying to ignore social media in hopes that it will to away…

4. “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

I wish all the advertising agencies in Canada would print this out and pin it on their walls. Most are still painfully ignorant about social media preferring to service the status quo with the tried and true ways of doing marketing — totally missing the reality that the “progressive” consumer has moved on and they are now just shouting at Dumb and Dumber with their one way mass media tactics.

5. “If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we will become a company of dwarfs. If we hire people who are larger than we are, we’ll become a company of giants.”
Amen. Don’t even get me started on the companies of dwarfs that populate the Canadian business landscape. Oh for the days of Giants. Even finding a business leader who has vision is rare. I am so grateful to my clients who have dared to have me activate their  social media and enrich their business!

Yes, the world has changed thanks to Web 2.0 and Social Media. Thank God, for Facebook and Twitter, as the world of business will never be the same.

Social Media is Innovative Marketing that Adds Great Value to your Business

Part of my role as as Social Media specialist is to curate content for my clients and myself. I look at a lot of content every day — some of it on social media and some of it on business. I am always searching for the common ground between the two.

Because I come from over a decade of  Sales experience in Toronto I love to read about sales and see how it relates to Social Media. In fact, I used to make the claim that having a person who knows about sales manage your social media was an real advantage and still believe that social media that incorporates both sales and marketing insights will be all the stronger for it.

A blog caught my attention this weekend with a quote from Peter Drucker and his approach to business. It quoted him saying

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

I had never read this quote of his before and was blown away how he says that marketing and innovation create RESULTS, all the rest is costs and  by the last line in which he states that Marketing “is the distinguishing unique function of business”

Recently I burned through yet another client who decided that “social media” was just not that important and so they decided to terminate my contract. Why? Because I have the that attitude, when I take on a new client that they had better make a commitment to their social media for at least one year or I don’t even want to get started with them. This particular client began to question the value I was working to create and my attitude, after one month of managing their social media. It was barely time to let the ink dry on the contract, get their accounts set up, determine the tone of their market conversation and find the content that was engaging!

Ironically the client was a technology start up out of Calgary that began with no perceived need for marketing whatsoever!  They quickly found out that they would have to have a marketing person on board and a plan in place or “investors” would not even talk to them. So they hired an “old Media” marketing person who knew nothing about the new “social media” stuff. A smart move for a business model that relies on online subscriptions for sales revenue…

Don’t even get me started on how it all played out after they hired me on a short term contract. All I can say is that their marketing manager was hoping that social media might be a silver bullet to drive traffic to their site –overnight —-as they were unable to get even 10 hits to their site in a month after trying some old media marketing tactics. Of course I told them from the start that it would take time to build the value that would generate sales online. I am not going to go into the details but I was all over a month after I started — because their fearless leader thought it would be smarter to invest their assets elsewhere and cut the social media “expense” entirely…

Change

Which brings me back to the quote by Drucker. He says that it is either one or the other to create results and SALES. You either Innovate or you Market. Preferably you do both. If you are not innovating — then you better be creating value for your product or service through marketing! Since very few Canadian businesses that I have dealt with actually innovate —  most copy the US market or their Canadian competition and on top of that, as a rule, they don’t market much either, I often wonder how they hope to compete for the consumer’s dollar and attention in the days to come. Even if they do marketing– it tends to be all old media stuff — that one way push marketing aimed at an audience that has for the most part, tuned out and moved on to social networks, preferring a new type conversation, a type of marketing that allows them to “interact” and communicate with a brand or company that they are interested it. On top of it all since so many Canadian small and medium sized businesses are short sighted and risk adverse, they are, as a rule, not about to innovate with respect to their marketing strategy.  Embracing and then focusing on mastery of social media is for the most part non existent.

By its nature social media is innovative. It is a new medium that allows those who are creative communicators to easily innovate and hence, to add value to a business in a way that they have never been able to do before.  That in itself, one would think, would be reason enough to give it a concerted effort to push forward.

Clearly most Canadian business owners are not reading Peter Drucker. I am not sure they are reading thought leaders on business intelligence and instead have become terribly complacent — asleep at the wheel of a big oil rig — thinking that the Canadian resource based economy will carry us into a sustainable future on a planet that is, in fact, currently dominated by technology innovations in internet communications. We have seem more social, political and economic change over the past decade as a result of the internet and Web 2.0 then in we saw in the last 100 years and yet Canadian business thinks that everything will remain the same when it comes to the ways in which they can create value for a potential client and then, for their bottom line.

The status quo that make up the majority of Canadian Business owners, especially in Alberta – don’t like to think about the idea of using disruptive marketing like social media to add more compelling value. Take out the word “compelling” and replace it with the social media buzz word, that means about the same thing , the word “engaging”. If you know anything about social media you know where I am heading with this one. A word of caution to all business owners who decide to stop their social media before it even  a chance to enrich your business. What is the real COST of stalling your chances of sustainable growth through new sales revenue via online marketing in 2013?

The Hidden Ground of Social Media

IN this graph of web traffic on The Atlantic —If one adds up the direct traffic from social media networks with the hidden traffic from social sharing via email, IM and secure sites one sees clearly how social dominates search.

The web is build on hyper links and social media is about sharing those links.

The ongoing activity of sharing links is what creates engagement, especially if the content shared is relevant to the interests of your target audience. I have had more than a few discussions with clients about the importance of sharing links on twitter in which I had to defend my preference to do so over what they thought should just be only a line of text that reflects their position on this or that. I argue that without that link no one is going anywhere to dig deeper into their interest in the topic mentioned—not to your site or to your blog or to a landing page with an offer or to another site or blog which might in turn mention you as being the referrer — thereby increasing your social capital.

In a recent blog post by the senior editor of The Atlantic online magazine he describes how he discovered that in addition to the stats that show a clear link to a social network like Facebook or Twitter there is often over 50% of web traffic coming from what he calls DARK SOCIAL. This category, he goes on to argue, is what I call the “hidden ground” of social media, he calls it DARK social —- the fact that long before the rise of the big social networks people were sharing links with one another through various online communication tools which in turn, were driving traffic to websites. These links continue to be shared through email, secure website and instant messaging.

Surprisingly, Search is also included in this category, which, to me, clearly shows how social media dominates web traffic and enriches any business found on the web today. The argument the SEO remains a key factor in the success of your business offering pales in comparison to the 50% of known referrals from social media platforms along with the additional 15% of the hidden, dark social links.  Add those two number together and  a conservative estimate is that at least 65% of web traffic these days is driven by social media efforts. If you are not doing social already is it not time you invested in Social Media to further enrich your business?

Re-Imagine. The Power of the Personal Brand.

Let me begin by saying that I love the new WordPress blog interface that I accessed via the new home page. Sweet. Looks and feels alot like Tumblr and yet I am glad I do not have to post only in that totally crazy mad world of the Creatives – I can still remain respectable and hire-able by posting to Word Press. 🙂 Thanks WordPress for being cool and creative and for still seeing the creative writing on the wall!

It has been a busy summer. mostly doing websites and managing some social media properties. As of late I have been away on yet another one of those client journey’s. It was the classic scenario. To begin they love that I am so creative and want to know what I think—even went so far to claim that they are “obsessed” by me. Not a good sign as obsession leads no good… but hey for the first few weeks I felt like I had just won a shot at the Olympic good metal round in Fencing, my favorite sport, and that someone was actually listening to what I had to say!  Then suddenly the honey moon was over and I am assigned to what feels like the position of “employee” as all my creative ideas are swiftly, with no explanation, swept under the carpet and we return to BUSINESS AS USUAL — even though we have not signed anything to that effect and I have from the start been no other then what my Twitter Profile states.

In an effort to cheer myself up I set about to read some good inspirational stuff on my iPad about what I do best  –which is communications. Early this am I came across a post that lead to an app for a guy who claims to be a MEDIA Futurist. Excited not so much by what he had to say, I am sure I have heard it all before after all I have been in this game for a hell of a long time now, both on the technology, creative and sales side and adore McLuhan but rather by the his method of engaging me I proceed to the Apple Store for a download. For me McLuhan, is still my main media man for 100 years after his birth he is one of the few intellectuals who gave credit to artists saying “I learnt everything I know from the Poets and the Painters”.   AMEN.

Anyhow, I downloaded Gerd’s app onto my ipad so I could experience my first personal brand app, that was the coolest part and I made mental note to blog about it later as it had the same mind blowing effect as a good cranial adjustment — waking up some nerve endings which have fallen asleep in the race to please offer appeasement.

So the guy is named Gerd Leonard — not an American as one would expect but a European – as all white people are anyhow…..a German actually – who lives in Europe, who of course, lived for some time in the United States and advocates – god forbid, some green solutions– probably a fan of that guy who wrote the book called The Solar Economy back in the day.  Thankfully, in the video I watch on my ipad app Gerd talks only about Media Ecology so I don’t have to worry about the thought police knocking at my door…

Alas I am trapped in Canada, a nation of bean counters, who simple don’t get what it is to be Creative when it comes to business —-even though they do try on occasion, which typically means paying lip service to some tired old ad agency in Toronto who still advocates a mix of media even as Gerd speaks to me via his personal app loaded onto my ipad in a You Tube Video posted at his channel about “The Future of Technology”.  He is cool school and apparently advises large fortune 500’s in Europe about change and employs 25 “Change Agents”. While I do feel a connection with him thanks to social media my ipad craps out half way through his talk due to a bad Bell connection.  While feeling uplifted I am quickly forced to go back to the reality of the day, one spent in a country where the dominant network does not know the works of Marshall McLuhan little lone some dude named Gerd who has his own ipad app and recommend that we all  “RE-IMAGINE”. One can only re-imagine what that means for the Future of Canada,eh?

UPDATE: Just went to like Gerd on FB and see that three of my Facebook Friends also like him. Surprise, one is Canadian – Don Tapscott, whose own writings are greatly influenced by McLuhan.

Mile High Social Media – are you still at Ground Zero?

For the past three years I have been actively engaged in social media as it applies to business. I began with Twitter because it is so dynamic. Information travels so quickly on it-  one can catch a glimpse of how influence in business and communications works. Today, I am fully engaged in the Social Media Networking Game called Empire Avenue which measures the value you or your business brings to social networks.

1. Ground Zero 

Ground Zero for all business is connecting with a potential client. Before switching my focus entirely online I would spend time going out to network at events but I soon realized that it was not going to help me build a business as a Social Media Consultant and Coach to Canadian Businesses.  To aquire “social proof” that I knew how to assist a business online  I needed to be online and active as a business myself!

Ground Zero for most Canadian businesses when it comes to Social Media is still “thinking about Social Media” or getting a Facebook page up then forgetting about the reason they did so…or worse not realizing that what they have “created”  is not a print ad, or radio commerical or TV spot with a bunch of bought eyeballs either looking at it or trying to ignore it. A Facebook page requires regular maintenance.  For that to happen and your fresh daily content to be seen and shared you would have to dig into your marketing budget and allocate funds to it or dedicate a good chunk of your own time daily to maintain a high level of interaction.  Its called Social Media and it’s a new way to communicate. What are you communicating?

2. Above the Crowd

With the addition of good quality content you begin to rise above the fray of most businesses online when you curate, create and share good content. Most Canadian businesses still refer to their the dusty website as their online marketing efforts. Even if they were to update it to a snazzy Web 2.0 site – did they remember to allocate funds to SEO or Social Media so they could be found? Even with an old website – once you begin to communicate daily – or hire someone to do it for you — your social media efforts will finally get off the ground and begin to float…

3. Up to the Clouds 

Up in the clouds the social media services and networks are numerous and you will have to step up your understanding of how social media works in order to create a game plan or a strategy as to how you will  connect with your potential audience, who, by the way– are already online. If they are not one has to wonder about their ability to survive the great re-set, the full on shift into the  “information age”. For the most part these folks will become crash test dummies on what was called the “information highway” decades ago. It was not as though these consumers of western culture have not been forewarned. Having sold websites back in 1998 I sometimes experience deja vu when it comes to  tring to educate a small business owner on this stuff.  Think about it — if your customer has no computer or mobile phone do you really think they are going to be able to afford your products or services right now or in the future?  And if they are connected through an electronic device do you really want to wait to bump into them on the street or in the supermarket, elevator or friend’s party to start a “relationship” and attempt to pitch them on your new products or servcies? How long is that going to take? Have you measured the time vs sales outcome for this kind of relationship lately? Who has the time to take the time to bump into people?

4. Breathing Rarifed Air takes TIME

It takes time to access the benefits of your social media stategy. Give it at least one year! Ironically when it comes to time is just like old school marketing. I remember when selling business cards and postcards – direct mail pieces we would say give it time, you have to distribute these things first before you are going to see results. It is the same with Social Media except you now have to figure out how to build a network online,  curate and create good content, distribute it and have others share it, establish yourself as an expert, establish trust and credibility before you are going to get the true ROI. It takes TIME and Money to make Social Media work, small business owner! Time and Money. What value do you place on your time?

5. A Mile up on your Competition 

What happens when you are a mile up on your competition with respect to your social media? conversations that lead to sales, referrals and the ability to leverage the networks you built. Suddenly you realize that you have a great referral base to tap into and a multitude of relationships that you can work on to strengthen in your sales funnel. What you have is sustainable. Again TIME is the key factor. Any good sales person knows this. That is why the best sales people do not like the one off accounts where they get the biz, get paid and then have to move on to find new potential clients, qualify them and go through the entire process all over again…they prefer accounts that are ongoing…where a REAL relationship can be build and value added! A Win Win scenario.

With social media, if you build your networks right from the start – and there are no shortcuts –  you will reap the benefits down the line.  Social media is not a one off ad – it is a network of qualified leads that can be measured as being a mile high — once your klout score reaches 100. Now that is a target to aim for!

Don't be caught surveying the burned out cores of old media properties...get online and up into the clouds...

Chris Voss is drowning in the Red Ocean of Empire Ave

Last night while curating content on my ipad I came across a post on Empire. Eager to learn more on this fascinating virtual social stock market game I clicked on the link. What I found was not positive but rather a rant on how Chris Voss feels he is being treated by the moderators of the Chat Rooms of Empire Ave.

Personally I have never been a fan of chat rooms as I am too buzy minding my own business — if you know what I mean. While I do participate in the odd chat, like one last night organized by @mqtodd on Empire called #EAvchat which was about Tips on Tumblr – it must be highly focused so not to waste my time as my goal is to learn something new and maybe share something that I know…

Apparently Chris waded into some Empire chats and was not well received by the moderators who he says are biased – and being the big heavy weight that he is — in the role of a “serial entrepreneur” turned social media guru — he claims that he encountered the “dark side” of Empire Ave.

Well – Duh!

A few thoughts bubbled up in my mind after reading his post.

1. “Money & Friends don’t Mix”.
This is what Chris says.. I have no idea how many times he repeated this in his blog post – but I find this a very odd comment in the context of Empire Ave which is:
A. a GAME and
B.a SOCIAL media game.
Anyone who has ever played a game of monopoly with family members knows that it can lead to some very hard feelings – whether the money is real or not. As for friendships….games typically dictate that the strongest, fastest and or smartest will prevail based on the rules of the game – which have been set by centuries of conditioning in which military strategy has ruled our culture. From there was incorporated into business practices and now Chris is on Empire doing something that someone does not like. While the game maybe new old mindsets prevail—for most it is and always has been —about WAR.

With Empire Ave however, since it is a SOCIAL game – luckily, there is more than one to play- that’s what makes it so intriguing. Further, based on your goals you are either winning or loosing. The big difference is this – because it is social it is open ended. It is not just a “shot em up game” where winner takes all. One can dominate a leader board, say marketing, but not the entire network. Sounds like Chris got shot at a couple of times – and it hurt —but maybe he should have adopted a different approach – my guess is a soft sell might have been better received — as most users on Empire are not hard core “start up leaders” but folks who are looking to simply socialize, engage, share and have fun!

2. With respect to the MONEY issue (real and fake)
I think Chris suffers from what is known as the Sunk Cost Bias. A classic error in decision making – he sunk money into the game…REAL money… ouch…and now he feels he is not getting ROI. He feels that he is loosing although his share is 150 plus eaves – triple to my own, but he continues to play regardless…. Go figure.

While most of us play with the fake money we earn from making good investments in other people and use their dividends to buy more – he actually bought some attention with cold hard real world cash. Personally – I invest in Creatives, Social Biz and Good IP and hold for the long term. I briefly considered investing in Chris but decided not to as I felt that he is the kind of guy that would not reciprocate – any time soon – for 3 reasons – 1. He would not think that I can advance his position so he would not give me the time of day writing me off as being too artsy or some such stereotype. OR he would see me as being some sort of competition as we both have business offerings that have to do with “social Media”. 3. His website is in serious need of a make over — it is cluttered with ads and posts and no white space. What happened to Web 2.0 style?

3. Social Media Clowns
IF, as Gary Vee says, 99.5% of social media experts are clowns then where does that leave Chris? Working in a medium that is so new and which requires a new way of thinking on how to communicate in personal and business relationships can Chris say he has mastered the game of Empire Avenue after a few months and try to rewrite the rules on ETHICS?

Which leads me to the reason why I think Chris is swimming in a sea of red when he should be using the blue ocean strategy. The best strategy for a long term win on Empire comes from the book called BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY -How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant”. It is summed up as

“Winning by not competing: a fresh approach to strategy”.

Red oceans are all the industries in existence today—the known market space. In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products become commodities, and cut throat competition turns the red ocean bloody. Hence, the term “red” oceans.

Blue oceans, in contrast, denote all the industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set. Blue ocean is an analogy to describe the wider, deeper potential of market space that is not yet explored. Like the “blue” ocean, it is vast, deep, powerful, in terms of profitable growth, and infinite”

Over 1 M sold - a must read for Social Media Experts

How Social Media is begining to change “the face” of Hard Core Gaming

When I was a kid I hated to “play games” – mostly because my brother always had to win or else he would cry. Winning is Happiness after all. Most male games have been based on win or lose, do or die. War. Strategy. Tactics. In essence – The 33 Strategies of War.

I would argue that women play a different type of games– as we rule the emotions and therefore the heart. What is the line from the popular Eagles song say? “The Queen of Hearts is always your Best Bet”… Women tend to operate more in the sphere of influence. “Behind every great man is an even greater woman”.

Today Zynga launches a new game. While the exterior trappings might reflect the same old same old there is a new psychology behind it. INFLUENCE. i.e. How to win friends and influence people. Now there is a twist that belongs to the old boy Dale Carnegie. Mind your P’s and Q’s and be nice. The aim of the game is changing. Be social for people, Get Social for Business. Long overdue for all of us who seek new way to win at the game of life.

Utilizing more traditional combat gameplay, the title places you in the role of an island leader looking to expand their influence through military might. While that sounds a far cry different from a game like “FarmVille,” for instance, “Empires” still tasks you with familiar Zynga features such as resource collection and visiting “neighbors.”

Desperado - The Queen of Hearts is always your best BET!