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…


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?

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!

Social Media, Creativity and Innovation in Canada

I was watching the Lang O’Leary exchange last night from my comfy berger chair with my laptop connected to a twitter tool – when I heard the CEO of the Canadian Business Development Bank — discuss the dismal failure of small and medium sized businesses to innovate and it dawned on me that I could be facing a tough market for a long time simply due to the prevailing Canadian business mindset which is very conservative and risk adverse. As a single entrepreneur, I am not going to be able to shift that anytime soon. I did not do the survey or write the report that says Small & Medium sized Canadian business gets a D for Innovation. The fact that we are ranked 14 out of 17 worldwide for our lack of creativity and innovation is however, shocking. “Yikes”, I said outloud. The cat jumped up. I almost dropped my laptop. Could it be that bad? Way worse than what I had thought but totally in line with what a good friend, who works with Google insiders, said to me some time ago about the state of Canadian business – “They are doomed on their own local markets, if in the next 5 years, they don’t get connected with their consumers online”.

While Marketing is an integral part of business- its first role being to determine if there is even a market for a product – it never fails to amaze me the number of businesses who still think that they can rely on word of mouth as a viable long term strategy for marketing their product or service in a high technology city, province and nation.

Technology of course is the most innovative of industries as it relies on that “analytical computing machine” which has now connected the entire globe in a web of communications. Technology, Communications and Media have now merged in cyberspace and for the most part small Canadian businesses are nowhere to be seen along the information highway (remember when we actually called it that here in Canada?) while the virtual social media space is becoming more and more crowded with consumers, your friends, family and business associates, all piling on in search of information on health, wealth, love and stuff to buy – Canadian businesses are nowhere to be found….not in search, not in the social networks. They are lucky if they have a website, out of date, static, boring with a contact phone number.

I have been blogging on this topic for some time now. In fact, over a decade ago I was in much the same position trying to sell business owners on the idea of having a website. At the time they could see no advantange to cutting print costs or being found on the new medium of the internet. It was a hard sell. Much the same as it is today.

Now that a business should have their marketing focused online you would think that the need for those who are creative thinkers, indeed the creative class would to be embraced, employed and hired to work with them to create a new level of productivity and success. Sadly small businesses are missing in action and if you are tying to secure work a larger client make sure that you have a freshly minted undergrade degree in marketing from a University which did not even touch on social media or have you study the history of media aka MCLUHAN in Canada. Even though creativity (dare we say ART/Apple) and TECHNOLOGICAL (electronic/MS) innovation has transformed BIG business culture over the last three decades, heaven forbid they actually hire someone with the knowledge, skills and experience of this history who could base their innovative marketing strategies on the nature of media, someone who could engage in the type of experimentation needed to sail the uncharted waters that are the sea of Social Media.

With a virtual “tsunami” of tools, apps, methods, numbers, metrics, stats, strategies available today where even medium-sized businesses think that being creative means having a personal facebook account with pictures of the last party you went to or a blog filled with some sort of trivia that reminds one of a content farm.

Feeling depressed about the D GRADE Canadian businesses got on innovation, I googled for a quck fix – the phrase “quotes on innovation” for something positive and the search engine pulled up, guess what? — Quotes on Creativity and Innovation. It seems you cannot have one with out the other. Duh? And yet time and time again I am smacked down for being too creative and too innovative…

So while I stuggle to “sell” the idea of social media to small and medium sized business in Canada at least I now know who is to blame for the conflict. It is not is not my problem, I have an ART SCHOOL Education, I know how to innovate, how to problem solve, how to imagine, how to visulize, how to be flexible, be open, be transparent, be engaging. The problem lies with the make money mindset that has no idea how to connect with consumers in the 21st Century when their is an oversupply of goods and a lack of attention from consumers who are now in control!

This time, I am on the side of the banks. While I may have very little capital in the bank since no one wants to fully engage me to execute any serious social media in Canada — they preferring to sit on the fence and watch their customers disappear down the information highway instead….I will do as I have done for decades now. I will ride out the wave working remaining in the moment of the NOW Revolution of Marketing.

It may be too much to ask for a “standard” small business to innovate on its product offering…but it would be nice if they had the vision to innovate in when it comes to their marketing strategy. Same old product, new way to market and sell it. Now there is an idea.

There are only two options here you either adopt social media or you are swept away. Time waits for no man or woman. Above us is the global connected techosphere where the big boys play. Learn the rules of the game and pay to win Canada. FYI, the name of the game is not HOCKEY – forget the pre meditated brain injuries in this game it is all about BRAINS, Creativity and innovation!

Business Intelligence and Social Media

Sadly small business entrepreneurs are often not aware of the cutting edge “thought leadership” that informs business intelligence in today’s marketplace. They are too busy putting out the “day-to-day” fires to follow what is happening right NOW in the marketplace with respect to the dramatic change between consumers and businesses. They are too busy working in their business to work on their business. Especially in Canada, were in spite of a serious recession to the south, the order of the day is “business as usual”. This means the same old methods of marketing, if any, are utilized – some print, mostly world of mouth. They continue to act as if we are in a bubble not connected the rest of the world which allows them to ignore both the canary in the coal mine and/or the elephant in the room asking – What to do about Social Media?

While Canadian small businesses struggle with how to grow in a rapidly shifting market – our American cousins are moving ahead with adoption of social media very quickly. Faced with a serious recession and uncertain future they have little choice. Radical change drives new mindsets. Canadian businesses, on the other hand, tend to be risk averse and the adoption of Social media remains in their minds as a big question mark with no value assigned and no plan for adoption in place. They remain in “wait and see” mode.

Like I said, can learn a lot from studying the competition. When it comes to social media this service is now offered by several vendors. Small business success with social media will depend on who wise business leaders decide to work with and how they deploy their strategy (plan). The following are frequently heard responses to my inquiries as to who is being considered for this task….

1. Your wife…or hubby – who knows something about IT and the internet…
2. A big ad agency who is learning as they go and often outsourcing this “special” area of expertise to a consultant.
3. A small boutique run by a single individual who has extensive expertise in the field grounded in the areas of sales, marketing, customer service, communications and community building

It is clear that corporations who are leading in the adoption of social media are using business intelligence to inform them. They are discovering that a business with A SOCIAL media focus who works to integrate it across all of its departments is going to be more sustainable in the long run and will out perform its competition. This is a perfect example of business intelligence supporting better business decision-making.

I recently discovered that one of the big players in this space is IBM. They claim that they have been exploring and experimenting with social media internally for the past 6 years starting with blogging. They are now offering consulting for small, med and large businesses on how to adopt Social Media.

Studying your competition has always been a good strategy for learning how to be a success in business. Common perception is that the bigger the business the more successful they are. How a big business does sales and marketing, innovates new products and connects with suppliers gives the entrepreneur ideas and insights on how they can grow their own business. At business schools their success stories inspire the new MBA’s and are called case studies. In the new world of social media you can either read all the latest books or blogs or listen online in order to find out who is executing successfully and how. It is all so new with only 5 years of adoption – 10 if you take it from the start of Google and Search that there is no one person with all the answers…Social Media can be very basic or highly customized.

On Friday while mining for gold in my social media feeds I found a great webinar on Social Media by IBM. I have listened to it a couple of times and made detailed notes. I am grateful that they shared their expertise and practice what they preach.

Ironically I also chose last year to launch my focused services making the quantum shift from Sales & Marketing to Search & Social Media after over 20 years in the new media, SALES and marketing space. For me there is a direct correlation between the two offerings and the upgrade of the first to the second. It goes something like this Sales = Search, Marketing=Social Media. Over the last few years the line between the two has been blurring and it has become very difficult to keep each one in its box.

IBM is already stressing the urgency for businesses to adopt Social Media in order to drive sales — saying already 57% of businesses are more likely to out perform their competition if they share their “expertise” and respond to customers thru social media. My number one take away from the IBM webinar has to do with Sales – one of my areas of expertise. A response to the question “How to you build trust?” was “This is not about fast and furious… this is a about relationship building, gaining friends and building trust over time” The bottom line, for me, remains that business intelligence in creating a SOCIAL business continues to lie in a solid understanding of the technology SALES process.

Social Media Shapes Society

Thrilled to find an article today on the release of another of the One to One Marketing book series. I began my serious study of marketing back in the late 90’s when I read the book “The One to One Future” by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. It really inspired me and opened my eyes to the possiblities of a new way of marketing.

The title of their newest book is The Marketing Century: How Marketing Drives Business and Shapes Society. In the UK they are marking 100 years of Marketing. I am celebrating 100 years of McLuhan. If we place the two timelines side by each I am sure that we could see that it is Social Media that is the greatest force on shaping society today.

Watch the video below in which Martha speaks about the skill set of a top sales person in the age of relationship marketing where the skills of sales expertise, creative and analytics are big factors. What she says really resonates with my experience of the last decade as a Sales and Marketing consultant while touching on the new position that I have adopted.

My Summer Saga I Pad Mega Media Adventure

“Well I actually think, behind the crisis is, the kind of the inflection point or the transformation point. If you look back at the two previous crises, and I’m actually writing a book on this, it’s called The Great Reset, hopefully you’ll invite me back to talk about it when it comes
out in April or May. But if you look back on previous crises, they’ve always been associated with the rise of new economic systems. So, the crisis of 1873 was associated with the rise of the first industrial revolution, and it gave rise to the second. The crisis of the 1930s was the rise of the second industrial revolution and these big steel companies and auto companies, and then we figured out how to make the society work.
This is really a crisis, not just of the financial markets and wanton spending and too much credit, it’s a tectonic crisis that’s associated with the rise of a new economic order.” – Richard Florida from HP interview today ……
It has been 4 months and the Crisis to which Richard speaks above has become for me – an ongoing EPIC adventure akin to that of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote

Love the media in the Don's hand, is it a long poking ipad thingy?

Armed with an Ipad, in the Spring I set out to take my business of sales and marketing consulting to the next level only to find myself filled with the creative angst of the Shakespearean query:  “To Be or Not to Be?”  which played out in spades over the spring and summer on a number of different levels with a number of different clients and their needs, wishes and demands. If I had the time or inclination to write down all the bizarre and laughable details it would be too much to believe, so allow me to speak in the sweeping terms of the times in which we live – and say that I have been off tilting at the windmills which represent old media vs new media while at the same time poking away at the Creative vs the Scientific, parrying between Male vs Female ways of thinking, engaging in left vs right brain processes and finally, lunging at LIFE and DEATH.
It all began April 20th with the BP fiasco which for me resulted in a long mediation on Modern Art and the Death of Culture
Death of Culture

Google death of culture and see who else has taken this subject on...

And so it was that I sashayed into a self interest course over the summer on “How to Die Well” thinking not of myself or those who I know but rather of our Culture as a whole, our Western culture which is now experiencing a deep grief and inability to come to terms with the loss of so much human, animal and plant life on daily basis due to its terrible inbalance which no man can correct. Indeed is seems that such a thing is impossible this late point in the game of western lifestyles, business practices and modes of thinking. I hoped for some reason to gain insight into what words I might be able to offer in the face of this ongoing  crisis. What ensued was a deep and often dangerous one sided discourse on life and death in the 20th Century lead by a leading expert who had failed to factor in …as they all seem to do….the effects of Media on the one hand and the natural balance of Life on the other which left me wondering, as usual, if my $50,000 art education investment was ever going to bear any fruit other than making me, once again, the OUTSIDER that Colin Wilson describes in his non fiction book on Artists.  Further, It left me grieving for the days when people still knew who McLuhan was in Canada. The expert heading up the session had attended Harvard and has worked in big Canadian Hospitals assisting over one thousand people in the face of their death. Still, like a fish in water what he was not aware of the environment that he lives – the Electronic Environment that McLuhan wrote of and how it that changed everything about our culture – including our response to Death and Dying…

As an artist, I have long embraced the concept that my Western Euro-Centric culture is on its death bed, a simple study of the works of the poets and painters shows this as a fact. What we see now are the final death throes of the demise of all our existing cultural institutions. For those who went to art school and studied the history of art this is not a new concept by any means. The absolute terror that this expert had seen over and over again by those facing death was the result of the TOTAL oblivion of their cultural memory which was delivered by the mercenary armies of the print bastards – armies who wiped out European Pagan and sacred culture and left all remaining scared of its monsters and demons and hungry ghosts and severely disconnected from any form of collective memory of ancestory in a matrix of disharmonic time which pits one race against another…

At one point the questions was posed as to why we were so terrified and disconnected when confronted with our own death or that of our family or loved ones. I tweeted out the word: “ARMIES”.

Buddy was completely taken back, shocked at the single keyword  which escaped my mouth like the a bird eating a small seed, quickly. The word came at him from what he thought was left field and he dismissed it as having no relevance to the rest of the conversation. All I can say is you cannot study the Media Theory of McLuhan for over 10 years and not know his theory on print and its relationship to citizen armies. If McLuhan is dry then try Bob Dobbs and the  “Print Bastards”. Same difference.

Greatest Salesman who ever lived!

The theology holds that “Bob” is the greatest salesman who ever lived, and has cheated death a number of times. He was famous for his SubGenius publication, SubGenius Pamphlet #1 (a.k.a. “The World Ends Tomorrow And You May Die”) (1979).

Whatever. If looks could kill I would have obliviated after that word “ARMIES” flew out of my mouth. From there on in I was cut off from an opportunity to expound on McLuhan or Bob Dobbs and had to listen instead to hours of discourse on Beuwolf, which incidently had been required reading prior to class.

I had googled the word Beuwolf and done the wikki check and found that it was some old english manuscript which made my hair want to fall out at the very thought of reading it so I got the equvilent of the Coles notes, reading the kids version which I picked up at Indigo. Before the class I scanned the book and looked at the pictures.

Shortly after my word was dismissed the history lesson began. I soon revealed my ignorance of British history by saying I did not know who Cromwell was. Back in my room later on I googled: Citizen armies on my IPAD and landed on the page below. The image says it all but the page honors McLuhan. DUH. Somewhere in a past I recall that I actually made an animated short on this concept — it is in storage somewhere…. Someday when I retire from this rat race or the world becomes truely aware of the environment in which we exist – and no, I do not meant the toxic slug of the old captains of industry — I will digitize my animated short and post it online…for now it is enough for you to study this picture and visit the link.

The Print Bastard

The Death of Western Culture

Creative mindset/billion dollar thinker Mashup

Map of the creative mind above

Now….about your mindset ….check out this website if you want to try to figure out how your mind set might appear. Then ask your collegue, client, boss, wife, partner or lover to map theirs and see if they are a “match” with yours. Simple eh? oh yeah, baby….just BOGGLES my mind!