Monthly Archives: January 2009

How to be an Expert in Everything

My goal is to be an expert at my job, but in today’s ever changing marketing world it’s impossible. That’s why having a strong network of marketing connections is more important than ever.

How is someone supposed to be an expert in all the aspects of just the online marketing world, let alone traditional media? Staying on top of all the changes in SEO, Paid Search, Display and Social Media is impossible. Just staying on top of one area like SEO or Social Media is extremely hard and time consuming.

Then add on top of that, traditional marketing such as TV, Radio, Print, and Outdoor, and how they all work together with online advertising, and you have a lost cause. That is unless you find a way to add more hours to the day. (if you do let me know)

So what are you to do, because aren’t we supposed to offer our clients or company the best marketing advice around?

The only way to do that is to surround yourself with the best people. Have a great network around you of brilliant people in each industry that you can lean on when needed.

Sometimes the best thing to know, is to know when to bring someone else in for help.  That’s the difference between knowing enough to be dangourous, and knowing enough to helpful.

Why Social Media?

The Power of Connections

Ever since I started relaunching Social Media Club Seattle, my friends and co-workers keep asking me, why social media?  Ok, so sometimes that question comes after the what is social media question?  But at any rate, not everyone gets why I would want to be involved in a group about social media.

They see social media as a way to connect to friends, but what else could it do, and why would an advertising guy be interested?

Well, I am interested, (ok a little obsessed) with social media, because I have seen the power it has. I have seen social media transform the reputation of brands, raise thousands of dollars for a good cause, and change the marketing direction of large companies in a matter of days.

Comcast, a brand with a horrible reputation among tech geeks needed to improve their customer service reputation.  What did they do?  They turned to social media, and it’s well documented in this NY Times Article

So by monitoring online conversations, and participating in online networks such as Twitter with @comcastcares, Comcast has started to change their brands image.  They have turned a community of people who were actively disparaging the brand online 2 years ago, into brand fanatics that actively promote Comcast.  I follow around 300 people on Twitter, and I can barely go a week without one of them raving about @comcastcares. That kind of word of mouth outreach does a lot to help a reputation of a company. This is something traditional advertising could not accomplish, especially not this fast, or so inexpensively.

The main reason @comcastcares was a success was people view their online connections positively. We are looking to learn and share with those we are connected with online, so we are less skeptical about what they are telling us. That can not be said about what we see on TV, hear on the radio, or see in a banner ad.

Zappos CEO gets it.  He buys into social media and blogs and tweets. This has led to a culture at Zappos that is focused around the customer.  What other CEO of a company with over $1 billion in sales would respond to random bloggers on Twitter, or respond to others blog post? Here are two great articles about Zappos, one from Adweek, and one from ReadWriteWeb.

Do a search for Zappos and you’ll see the results. It seems almost every blogger has interviewed Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.  What amazing PR, and a way to make a one to one connection with their customers. These aren’t just any customers promoting Zappos either, they are influencers that will then communicate this message to many others online and off.

You may be saying sure social media can increase brand awareness and perception, but how do we place a value on it? The best example I have of the potential is a recent plea for help from David Armano. His plea for $5,000 for a family in need was taken to heart by his followers. Within 12 hours of his original post he already had raised over double what he was hoping. A truly amazing and heart warming story of the power of a network and relationships.

There are many questions we can ask about this example, and things that must be quantified, but I have two that come to mind first as a marketer. How was David able to “influence” his online following to give? Or more importantly, what has David given his followers that they feel the need to give back?

I could go on with stories like this, both positive and negative. I could talk about the influence of a small Twitter group over a huge brand like J&J, in the Motrin Mom fiasco. Or talk about how H&R Block used social media and a fake persona to connect with consumers.

It seems everyday there is another case study or example of the power of social media. That alone is exciting, but the reason I am involved is the unknown of social media. How do we quantify why some social media marketing campaings work, and some don’t? What are the best practices of social media, or the best implementation for a given brand? That is why I have connected both online and offline to others exploring these same questions.

Social media is growing and changing faster than anyone can keep up. We are at the infancy of something will change not only the way companies interact with consumers, but also the way they do business internally.

I have encouraged many of my friends to start participating in the social media space, and its great to see their excitement once the light switches on and they see the potential. It’s hard to quantify what that potential is in a blog post like this, but trust me, spend a month participating in the conversation online and you’ll see it too.

What Blogging Will do for You

I went into blogging with certain goals in mind, but after 6 months I have gotten more from it then I would have ever imagined, and so can you.

When I started my blog, there were three reasons behind it.
1. To improve my writing skills
2. Get my opinionated ideas on paper, in an effort to free up my co-workers time.
3. So I could have two-way conversations with people about marketing ideas (Twitter does this now)

Here is a link to the first post that explains it a little more.

What I did not plan on getting out of blogging was the ability to refine my thoughts and communicate them more clearly, not only in writing but also in conversation. I don’t know why I did not expect this to happen, but it has been the biggest benefit I received from blogging, and I think you would as well.

We all have thousands of ideas storming around our heads all day (and sometimes night) long. We like to think we can recall them when needed, but we can’t always do that.

If we can recall those ideas they are not always well fleshed out or thought through. Certainly nothing you could use in a meeting with a client, unless you put a lot more time into developing them. By writing your ideas down, it helps you develop them materialize them and put them in a part of cognitive memory you can actually use.

Of course this is nothing new.  People have been saying to journal thoughts for thousands of years.  What’s great about a blog however, is that you have other people reading those thoughts, and improving upon them.  You also have somewhat of an accountability network to keep you going.

So if you don’t blog, give it a try for a few days.  Just go to http://posterous.com or http://wordpress.com/ and set one up.  Or if you already blog, do it more often.  (trying to take my own advice)

You will be amazed how when in meetings, or in talking with friends, you will all of a sudden start quoting your blog post.  It’s like having a support group of ideas ready to help you when needed.  Best of all they’re your ideas!