Monday, November 26, 2012

Henceforward .. and Forever! Hail to the American Stamp!

This afternoon, sale of the U.S. Postal Service's Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp will go on sale at

The phrase “Henceforward Shall Be Free” is taken from the Emancipation Proclamation. Art director Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, worked with graphic designer Gail Anderson of New York City to produce the stamp. To evoke the look of posters from the Civil War era, they employed Hatch Show Print of Nashville, TN, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.

The Postal Service's Forever Stamp collection is full of "art" in every delicious sense of the word. Learn more about the design of the Forever collection at  Beyond the Perf, which features a video interview with the five USPS art directors who bring illustrative meaning to “decorative stamp.”

Ethel Kessler talks about the talents of the five people who work on the stamps. “Each of us has different passions, different strengths. And we’re relentless, [asking] what can we do at every level to enrich it.”

Phil Jordan, who created the USPS Civil War series, says his effort seeks to honor past acts of courage or accomplishment. Although the public may not understand every stamp, they can appreciate the beauty. “What evolved was a labor of intense scrutiny… I wanted to express what people were thinking and what the common person was doing, particularly the common soldier." Was all the research worth it? "What we have, we know will stand up to scrutiny,” says Jordan.

Kessler researched her Nobel Prize winners series just as diligently. She can't cite in depth what scientific achievement each winner was known for, but she was dedicated to capturing the essence of, perhaps, the world's most coveted award. “Ethel really did an amazing job says Derry Noyes. “She was working with murky photographs of scientists and complex formulas. This could have been a recipe for disaster, but everything went beautifully.”

Antonio Alcala -- who worked on the "Henceforth" stamp released today -- says his favorite series features industrial design from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Greg Breeding also loves the Pioneers of American Industrialism series that he says has inspired so many objects we use today, including the iPad, telephones, etc.

From Miles Davis/Edith Piaf's moody images ...  

to Major League Baseball All-Stars ....

to the Vanishing Species series ..
... the artists who work on postal stamps hit it out of the ballpark.

“We’re telling a story; we’re telling America’s story,” says Kessler -- and that story is complex in more ways that we can imagine. For example, the Latin Music Legends series is Kessler's favorite. “I worked with Raphael Lopez who is himself a musician and a brilliant illustrator. We decided what we were looking was ‘performance,’ that we could hear the music.”

Likely, only a designer can discern the many possibilities that comprise a powerful picture. “What is it that grabs you? Is it the title, the color, the graphics? Is it pretty, is it edgy? Designing stamps is more work than you think," Noyes concludes. "It’s a real collaborative effort. If the collaboration has worked well, then we have a great stamp.”

Kessel adds, “Our biggest success is when it looks easy.”

Note: USPS also is selling a 16" x 23" poster featuring the same art that is on the "Henceforward" stamp. Using the traditional letterpress printing process that makes each one unique, only 5,000 of these posters will be produced. Each poster also bears a limited-edition number. To add to their collectability, the first 1,000 posters will be autographed by graphic designer Gail Anderson and fulfilled with the lowest numbers first in the order in which orders are placed.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, INDEED! Digital Sherpa, You Rock!

Okay, I officially love you, DigitalSherpa. The following email from you showed up in my inbox ten minutes ago, on November 20. Now this is happy. THIS is a class act. Thank YOU.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

“Marketing Is Dead.” Agreed?

Author Bill Lee thinks so and shares that view in his August 9 Harvard Business Review blog post of the same title.

The post, which has generated over 600 comments, laid out Lee’s case that, “Traditional marketing isn’t really working anywhere.” Lee says, don’t despair. “Actually, we already know in great detail what the new model of marketing will look like. It's already in place in a number of organizations. Here are its critical pieces:”

1. Community marketing via social media that replicates the community-oriented buying experience.

2. Participation of customer influencers who are given “something to talk about.”

3. Customers who advocate for the brand with an eye to building their own “social capital” (for example, access to special knowledge) via affiliation networks

4. Customer advocates who get involved in solution development via participation in a “peer-influence” effort.

Not surprisingly, Lee’s post drew some vivid disagreement. Winston Groom III complained, “Why is anyone even talking about this blog post? The headline has been done before. The author's strategic recommendations are stale. His writing style is distinctive and formulaic. The author's experience/background is unimpressive. I don't get it.

Others, like Chris W agreed that marketing is terminal. “If I go to make a major purchase on something such as electronics or a car I'm going to first go through multiple websites and see what the ratings are.  Next I'm going to talk to someone I know that has knowledge on such products and get opinions from them.  Also with online shopping being as big as it is you can look up what you're already thinking about purchasing and look at what others have to say that have already bought the product.  I don't think that traditional marketing will ever have a place with how technology has advanced in social media, and product research.”

But the aticle has many defenders, too Deniz Ayaydin says, “I think this article makes a good point and has some powerful examples.  I think the thesis is not that marketing is dead, but more acurately that *traditional* marketing is dead.  This is pretty clear by the end of the piece … The smart marketers get this idea and it's incredibly powerful.  Not to drop lingo, but in the marketing community there is a concept called 'Earned Media' -- this term basically referrals to endorsement from people you know and trust that are not associated with the company (the company earned their endorsement somehow, presumably through a positive customer experience That's what this article is suggesting is more important than traditional.”

Other commenters were amused. Howard Slow wrote, “I've just read all 573 comments... sparked terrific debate, that means a lot of marketers are probably scared! :) I remember the debate "IT is dead" created too. Well done peeing on the hornets' nest, Bill.”

Why not read it yourself?

Source: Harvard Business Review blog (, August 2012

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

"They let their data be their spin."

The headline above echoes Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, talking election strategy -- and success -- today on Morning Joe.

Todd -- an admitted enthusiastic for the power of data -- attributed President Obama's re-election victory in large part to the data-directed dedication of Obama's top political advisers Jim Messina, campaign manager; David Axelrod, political adviser; and political strategist David Plouffe.

As Scarborough's panel noted, post-election results prove that this group of strategists and analysts knew they would win and they knew why. How could they have been so sure?

Marketing Lesson #1: Get the Data
In Obama's reelection effort, Big Smart Data did the trick -- big data that already knew where to find Democratic leaning constituents, including where they shop, what they buy, where their spouses/partners work, what magazines they read, what TV programs they watch, what moves them -- all of it.

Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time Magazine, also touted the value and impact of sophisticated data mining described in the magazine's November 7 story by Time White House correspondent Michael Scherer. A similar Poynter article quoted a senior Obama campaign official saying, "We ran the election 66,000 times every night," said a senior official describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama's odds of winning each swing state. "And every morning we got the spit-out -- there are your chances of winning these states. And that is how we allocated resources."

And so it went ... "All into one gigantic database," Stengel noted.

Marketing Lesson #2: Put Effort Where It Counts Most
Marketers call it the 80/20 rule. In the 2012 election, Big Data was applied to instructing Obama's reelection efforts -- particularly in the nine swing states -- exactly where and how to boost voter registration. In other words, the point wasn't to convert non-believers. The point was to grow and nurture the believer base.

The Obama campaign also took Big Data to an art form in areas where the Democrats were traditionally less strong, but where great potential lay. "[In Ohio, among labor] the effort was particularly helpful in targeting some of the more difficult demographic groups - white men, for example."

Marketing Lesson #3: Follow-up with CRM
From the gigantic database, relevant information was converted into "boots on the ground." In all nine swing states, for years before the election, committed volunteers worked to "get out the vote." They registered voters, of course, but it didn't end with registration. Many volunteers actually became friends with those they had recruited: they had coffee together, they stayed in touch, they practiced the proven tactics of customer relationship management (CRM). And, on election day, these volunteers made as certain as possible that their constituents actually would vote: they phoned, they visited, they offered rides, the followed up, close and personal.

Marketing Lesson #4: Don't Talk Down to Your Audience
To marketers, of course, Big Data is no mystery. "Companies like Proctor & Gamble, are accustomed to calibrating data against message," Stengel pointed out. The "secret," of course, is to spend money only on messaging that's targeted and effective.

Making this point, Stengel noted that some of the opposition's repetitive TV ads actually helped Obama. In particular, a Romney campaign ad playing in industrial Ohio that many viewers believed misrepresented Romney's position on the auto bailout, angered the well-informed viewers in Ohio's heavily unionized areas. "Watchers do become experts on ads," Stengel noted.

Having Said All This, If It Don't Work, It Don't Work
The Republicans had data, too, of course -- a huge machine they nicknamed Orca. Somehow, though, Orca went awry. An article by political columnist Paul Glastris that appeared in Washington Monthly sought to address the question, The Mystery of Why Republicans Were So Sure They’d Win.

Glastris wrote, "Orca, which was headquartered in a giant war room spread across the floor of the Boston Garden, turned out to be problematic at best. Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes. Obviously that didn’t happen. Later, another aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action. 'Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it,' said the aide."

Just for the Fun of It, Remember: Anecdotal Evidence Also Counts
Rising Democratic star San Antonio (TX) Mayor Julian Castro explained how voters in his city were persuaded to approve a modest one-eighth of one percent tax increase dedicated to underwriting high-quality pre-kindergarten for thousands of children. Castro noted that -- contrary to the "no new taxes ever" mantra, people will accept taxation when they know its purpose. Voters understand the need for education for young children, understanding that "brain power is the currency of success," he said.

Incidentally, Castro predicts the effect of the Hispanic vote will take Texas to the Democrats in six to eight years.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Drive YOUR RFP to the TOP of the Proposal Heap

Widely respected consultant Ilise Benun was a featured speaker at the International Freelancer's Day Conference, held on September 21, 2012. An author and speaker, Benun also is founder of and co-producer of CFC, the business conference for the creatively self-employed.

In her webinar, Benun focuced on proposal writing.

Here are Benun's key points on crafting and executing a winning proposal.

Think Big.

1. Believe you are the best person for the project or don't do it.
2. Do you have relevant experience for the client? Do you know someone you can get inside information from? Do the prospects know what they are looking for an what they are buying? Are the prospects just buying or are the fishing (looking for ideas)? How many others are submitting proposals?
3. The proposal document isn't the only element of the proposal. Also important is how you present it, how you show it.

Make Yours one of FOUR Different Types of Proposals.

1. The one-page agreement/confirmation letter (2-15 minutes)
2. One to three pages, but ideal for a new prospect offering more details (1 hour)
3. Four to ten pages for medium to large prospect for a client who doesn't know you. Consider hiring a professional copywriter for this. You offer detail about your process (4 hours)
4. 10 to 20 pages for a major project with your idea client, lots of relevant examples, demonstrates knowledge, details about people on your team, references (1 - 2 days; generally the more pages, the higher the fee). Definitely include samples, examples, etc.

Understand the FIVE Essential Elements of a Proposal That Must Be Included for Every Type or Size of Proposal.

1. Project description and overviews, from the prospective client's point of view.
2. Deliverables, what will they get and how many.
3. Cost (outlined not as a Chinese menu, but with ranges of fee for each activity).
4. A calendar for the realistic production schedule without *specific* dates, but with length of time.
5. A sign off.
6. Other: relevant samples, images that represent your process, references. 

Demonstrate Your Process Three Ways.

1. Include The Road Map for Success: One paragraph that describes each of the processes you will use to discover, design, develop, implement, and evaluate the project.
2. Present a collection of checklists and forms that you generally use in executing a project. Include, for example the marketing plan, or the pre-press checklist. Provide screen shots only, not the actual forms (the purpose is to help the prospect understand your organizational capabilities and skill sets).
3. Feature the bullet points of the proposal in 12 one-page elements that include:
  • Cover -- d.g. [Client Name] Rebranding Proposal, your name and address
  • Short short note to so-and-so
  • Project objective (short)
  • Project timeline (one page.. phase one, two, three, etc.)
  • Bulleted list of deliverables
  • The bio and the team's bio
  • A list of relevant clients
  • One paragraph on a few recent projects.
  • Work examples of relevant client work (three pages)
  • Testimonials
  • Costs (one paragraph description of each phase plus fee, in round numbers NOT ala carte)
  • Proposal sign-off

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The International Freelancer's Day Conference, was presented online on September 21, 2012, by Ed Gandia, founder of the International Freelancer's Academy.

Through one-on-one and group mentoring, Benun provides practical guidance, accountability and a sounding board to creative professionals who are serious about growing their creative business. She speaks internationally to trade groups and students. Her books include “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing," “Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive,” "The Creative Professional's Guide to Money” as well as the popular ebooks and downloads, “The Proposal Bundle for Designers” and “The Proposal Bundle for Copywriters.” Details at

Friday, September 21, 2012

Time to Hook Up: Employers and Freelancers Make A Beautiful Partnership

This afternoon, I tuned into the International Freelancer's Day Conference hosted by Ed Gandia, founder of the International Freelancer's Academy. One of the presenters, Erik Vonk described in detail why he believes society-at-large has now entered the "Era of Dynamism," during which people worldwide will begin to work for themselves.

Here are some key points from Vonk's presentation.

Today's worker has become global and independent.The way we used to work was rigid and carries significant liabilities. Today no one believes in job security or job loyalty. Temporary enterprise is flexible, talent-centric, and networked. Exchanging competencies for income is no longer tied to a job. In 2011, 59% of workers had been employed in the same place an average of only four years. In short, there is nothing permanent about work anymore.

Migration-enabling developments are prevalent all over the world.
There is an uncommon transference of wealth globally -- for example, we all buy oil from "somewhere else." This new "transference" creates dynamism and fluidity.

Todays modern temporary enterprise is platform agnostic. 
In society, we are beginning to see that on-demand work arrangements have evolved from being tolerable to being desirable to being aspirational.
1. The "position" does not define work platform. Agreements today are based on supply and demand. The need for certain competencies within an organization determine the work platform.
2. Any eligible position can be filled by a contractor.
3. Megatrends promote this dynamic situation.

A number of realities define the work world today, including these often misunderstood myths about taxes and business method.1. Myth: Contingent [temporary] work produces tax savings. Reality: The revenue value of an independent contractor to the IRS/government is the same as for employees. An organization saves money by using independent contractors, but the IRS/government gets the same money no matter the work status of the worker.

2. Myth: A payrolled contractor has independent status. Reality: An independent contractor employed by a third party [for example, a temp agency] does not have independent contractor status.

3. Myth: Self-incorporation [being "incorporated"] leads automatically to tax compliance. Reality: The rules that surround compliance lie with the IRS or with individual states, not with the "incorporation" of a particular business. Nevertheless, incorporation does act as a liability shield for the independent contractor and also, incorporation may make it possible to change from an employee status to a vendor status.

What does/will "Obamacare" mean to independent contractors?
1. Provides access to health insurance
2. Creates federal health insurance requirements for everyone.
3. Creates health insurance exchanges, places independent contractors can go to buy state-operated policies.

The individual mandate means that -- as of 2014 -- every individual must be enrolled in a health plan. Those not covered will pay a penalty through tax returns [Note: there will be exemptions for those below the poverty line and certain exemptions based on religious rules can be sought.]

The solo practitioner may live in a state that offers coverage to a small business or as individual. That capability varies among states.

How can we freelancers thrive?
1. Inform prospective clients about tax realities and be informed with tax, legal, and business issues.
2. Play into the momentum. The desire is there. Megatrends are pushing the tsunami of change and influencing the role of work in the society toward independence. Be informed and help others to understand.
3. The last barriers are crumbling: retirement options (401Ks, IRAs); health coverage (Obamacare, regulatory initiatives, the marketplace already underwriting plans); banking and insurance; IRS (villianization of independent workers is waning through efforts of entities like the Freelancer's Union); more examples of progressive employers (IBM, for example has "liquid" players, Microsoft modern thinking is prevailing).

The best advice is: Keep your options wide open.
1. Worldwide companies are looking to replace fixed costs with variable expenses. They want access to talent pools.
2. Continue to think from the organization's perspective. increasingly, the "business plan" -- not historic work conventions -- decide who will be employed and who will be contracted.
3. Do not be guided or distracted by fear-mongering: Get good advice and move ahead confidently.

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Erik Vonk is an internationally recognized expert in the field of freelancing and independent contracting. As the architect of the staffing contract between Randstad Staffing Services and the Atlanta Olympic Committee, he orchestrated the provision of all 16,000 paid personnel for the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996. This is still the largest single supplier contingent workforce arrangement on record. He is the author of the book “Don’t Get a Job, Get a Life” (2000), which makes the case for replacing outdated employment conventions with "on demand" work platforms. Follow him on Twitter: @erikvonk.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hey, Marketer! Got An Idea? Read This Before You Pitch It to Anybody.

The Art of the Imperfect Pitch, a compelling article from Professor Baba Shiv at Stanford Graduate School, tells us exactly how to sell our ideas to other people. Shiv bases his advice on brain research, especially that of American neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky..

To put it simply, Shiv describes the "X framework" wherein anxiety and fear and contentment oppose one another on the bottom and, on the top, excitement opposes apathy). If, while facing a decision, a person is fundamentally anxious or fearful, that decider will seek to avoid additional stress by "playing it safe." If, on the other hand, the decider is feeling contented, he or she is ready for some risk or excitement -- in other words, open to a new idea.

In a nutshell:
Those with ideas to sell, should avoid pitching their ideas to anxious/fearful colleagues who are predisposed to apathy and likely to retreat from change or risk. Rather, the pitch should be directed to a contented colleague -- a "champion," if you will -- who is open to excitement and change.

Shiv suggests that ideas be pitched in draft or incomplete form, not in full-blown detail. Why? As Shiv puts it, "I have observed time after time that if you build a polished prototype, others will see flaws. If you build a rough prototype, they will see potential."

Here is a final key point from Shiv:
"So, from an innovation standpoint, you must discern where your ultimate target manager is on this X Framework. The tip here is that people habitually ride one pathway or the other. Type I personalities are those who instinctually stay on a groove between stress and comfort. These people typically fear making mistakes. In contrast, what I call the Type II personalities are those who tend to move between boredom and excitement … I have found that chief marketing officers and chief information officers, tend to be Type IIs."

And who are the Type Is? The maintenance folks like the information technology managers and chief operating officers.

We knew it was true and now we know why.

Source: Morning Advantage newsletter (September 6) from Harvard Business Review

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One More Reason You Need Video Marketing Now and Ten Reasons to Produce It for the Tablet

A compelling video from Gary Hennerberg convinced me that video and tablets -- together -- will lead the digital marketing revolution. Gary is a direct marketing consultant, copywriter and author of Online Video Marketing Deep Dive, so it's no surprise that he is armed with facts, explanations, inspiration, and more than a little great copy, 

In the six-minute video, Gary cites ten reasons marketers need to think about creating video for the tablet market today, including these highlights:

1. The number of tablets purchased this year doubled over 2011, reaching 119 million in 2012 (Gartner). Smartphones started the trend, but this is the early part of the curve for tablets. Takeaway: Get ready now.

2. We’re in the post-PC era, and the amount of video watched on tablets has jumped 26%. iPads presently account for 95% of tablet video viewing. Takeaway: The iPad won’t play Flash, so convert your legacy videos to a format that doesn't rely on Flash.

3. Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in history. Tablets are used for "watching" everything (TV viewing, included). Takeaway: The future is “location-based video.”

4. Video viewing is a “given” on tablets. Takeaway? Got a tablet? You want video.

5. Tablet users are three times as likely to watch video on their devices. Takeaway: Shoot and upload your videos in HD, whenever possible. Tabbies expect quality.

6. Nineteen percent of tablet users watch video once a week, nine percent watch daily. Better yet, One in four viewers is willing to pay to view. Takeaway: These users have money and are willing to spend.

7. The heaviest concentration of smartphone and tablet users combined occurs between the ages of 25-44, but the tablet cohort is 28% more likely to be age 65 and older and 25% less likely to be 18-24. Takeaway: Tablet users tend to be well-heeled.

8. Three in five tablet owners reside in households with a $75,000+ income. Takeaway: See takeaway #7, above.

9. Tablets will become the preferred, primary device for millions worldwide by 2015, overtaking notebook PCs by 2016, says Forrester. Takeaway: Start early and travel fast to master this marketing channel.

10. Ten percent of a publisher’s audience are “power viewers” willing to watch five or more videos in a given day. Takeaway: Consider producing an ongoing series of educational and instructional videos to build trust, authority, and a following. Then you can sell.

Check out Gary’s complete video here.  There's lots more good info in the full monty.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

How Does A Quick Printer Flourish?

I was scanning Twitter awhile back and the following tweet came up from Daniel@GlobalElements.

Need a new set of business cards? Give me a call 720-542-6105 I can print 1000 Premium cards for only $49.99 CALL TO…

Daniel is a printer in Denver. 1,000 business cards for $49.99 isn’t all that remarkable, but I was intrigued that somebody was actually advertising a specific service, with price, via tweet, so I took a look at his website.

Global Elements is doing all the small printing stuff – banners and signs, brochures, business cards, CD inserts, door hangers, flyers, invitations poster, rack cards, sell sheets, stickers, tickets, and rush printing. They're also creating promotional products, doing website design, development, and content management, and doing social media for clients.

So, does this mean a quick printer can still flourish? I'm betting that's exactly what it means.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Macro Trends That Should Be Part of Your 2013 Campaign Planning

7. Big Opportunity Hides in “The Second Economy.”
Digitization is creating a second – and relatively silent -- economy that’s vast, automatic, and invisible. McKinsey Quarterly calls this the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution. As an example of this second economy, Professor W. Brian Arthur contrasts a simple flying experience in 1990 to the digital frenzy accompanying every aspect of an airplane flight today – registration, check in, luggage handling, security, etc. “So we can say that another economy—a second economy—is silently forming alongside the physical economy … This suggests to me that the main challenge of the economy is shifting from producing prosperity to distributing prosperity.”

Takeaway: What revenue possibilities might be hiding in your organization's “second economy”?

6. The Marketplace Wants Ever Newer, Ever Fresher.
Trendwaching talks about “Newism” and employs attentive eyes and ears in 170 countries, all focused on spotting trends. 

Takeaway: How might your organization employ its own “trendspotters”?

5. Re-imagine.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to imagine what a home entertainment center might look like in three years. Of course I “saw” wireless systems, image projection everywhere, and voice control. But I didn't see any headphones. Surprise: A recent tweet from @HomeTechDudes, reported on the new Microsoft patent that imagines headphones as an accessory that docks everything to the mother ship. [Headphones?]

Takeaway: In the planning stage, imagine old systems in new ways.

4. Specializing Is the Newest Old Trick.
Nobody understands “targeted” better than marketers. Still, it’s still difficult to grasp all the "niche niches" that digital can mine. Jess3 is a case in point. Here’s a creative agency that specializes in data visualization – meaning, these folks are expert at turning a complex idea into a single glance.

Takeaway: What current capability can you hone or craft into a unique product/service? 

3. America Is Getting Self-Employed.
Labor historian Richard Greenwald believes that the American workplace is undergoing a shift every bit as profound as our 19th century move from farms to factories. The current trend, which Greenwald predicts will accelerate in coming years, sees up to 50% of Americans self-employed as free agents, contractors, day laborers, consultants, etc. “These white-collar folks are workers. And, in the new economy, collar doesn't signify class the way it once did," Greenwald says.

Takeaway: Reconsider the attributes and benefits of non-employee talent.

2. Everybody Wants Something To See.
I’ve been subscribing to and following Natalie MacLean’s wine commentary since she went online a decade ago. I remember her early-- and cutting edge--foray into electronic newsletters. I’ve watched her successfully sell ebooks and master social media. MacLean has always been ahead of the marketing curve. No surprise, then, that her website is full of lush photos and devotes a tab to “video.” Natalie’s June and July blogs feature an online video interview with Rex Pickett, author of Sideways (from which we all learned to declare, “I’m not drinkin’ any •••••• merlot.”). 

Takeaway: What photos, graphics, and video can your organization affordably gather to capture eyeballs? 

1. Saying “No” Is Smart.
Greg McKeown writes for the Harvard Business Review. On April 30, he cited “one thing CEOs need to learn from Apple.” Pointing to Steve Jobs approach, McKeown makes the case for culling, paring down, and throwing out. “Jobs cut out profitable business lines at a time when the company appeared it could least afford to do so, culling the business down to four clear product lines.” McKeown concludes with this advice: “So next time you’re leading an offsite strategy session, don’t be satisfied with a list of priorities that you’re going to say ‘yes’ to. Go through the process of answering the essential strategy question: 'What will we say no to?' That question will reveal the real tensions in your team. It is that question that will uncover the core trade-offs in your organization. It is that question that can deliver the rare and precious clarity necessary to achieve game-changing breakthroughs in your business.”

Takeaway: Read McKeown’s advice again.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Objective: Get Publicity. Tactic: Publicize Publicity.

What adds up to “publicity” today? How about the fact that you already got publicity.

I subscribe to PR Newswire for Journalists. The top – and only -- release this morning was as follows:
 * Bliss Drive Reaches #1 Position for Highly Competitive Key Phrase: 'Orange County SEO'

And your point is .... ? 
Here's what the first paragraph of the press release says: "Bliss Drive, a full-service Internet marketing and web design company that is located in Irvine, California, has just achieved a crucial milestone. They have climbed their way to the top of Google's search results, and now the company's website sits proudly at the number-one position for a highly competitive key phrase, Orange County SEO."

No doubt, today's press release will Bliss-Drive the company's Google positioning up even further.

And, really, that’s what search engine optimization is all about, isn’t it?

Annoying, perhaps. Effective, definitely. Executed, blissfully.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Will Facebook Go the Way of Yesterday's Yahoo? This Expert Says “For Sure.”

Facebook will lose dominance as a major Web company in less than a decade, Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital said in a June 4 video interview broadcast on CNBC's Squawk on the Street.

"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared," Jackson said. "Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared."

Jackson assumes that Facebook will not be able to evolve any better.

“When you look at Web companies … there have been three generations of Web companies over the last 15 years: Web portals, social Web, and, currently, companies that are purely focused on Mobile (phones or tablets)…. No matter how successful you are in one generation, you don’t seem to be able to translate that into success in the second generation, no matter how much money you have in the bank or how many smart PhDs you have working for you."

Jackson forecasts Mobile as Facebook's Achilles heel. "I think Facebook will have the same sort of challenge moving into Mobile … The world is moving faster. It’s getting more competitive, not less, and those who were dominant in their prior generation are really going to have a hard time moving into this newer generation."

Google, too, will struggle, Jackson predicts. "Specifically, with Google, in five to ten years, the world of typing into a blue box on your desktop PC to get search terms? That’s going away. In the world of mobile, search is far less profitable for Google."

How can a company with 900 million subscribers disappear? It won't. "I think Facebook is NOT going bankrupt … but something new is coming along that we haven’t seen yet probably… People will be fascinated by it and attracted to it …[As for Facebook] what makes you successful in generation one, doesn’t make you successful in generation two. [In the world of mobile], Facebook is still a big fat website.”

-- Scrubbed by Marketing Brillo
Source: Cadie Thompson, Technology Editor,