Guilty! Practicing Marketing Without a License


I have a confession to make. Three years ago, I didn’t know much about how social media could be applied to business. As a classically trained direct marketer, I struggled to reconcile this new platform with what I’d been trained to do my entire career; drive quality responders at the lowest cost possible. It was difficult to find 1:1 correlations between investment and return in social media marketing. Besides, there were more fundamental things to tackle that would bring us results faster.

On the other hand, I recognized businesses would not be exempt from the massive change sweeping people-to-people interactions. Increasingly, our customers would want to interact with us through these same channels. Intellectually, I knew I had to expand my skill sets and evolve as a marketer in order to stay relevant. Continue reading

Your Lead Nurturing Program Needs Help.

MarriedCoupleCartoonThe last few weeks have reinforced one painful truth for me. You can’t get through an entire marketing conference without someone comparing the B2B lead funnel to marriage.

At some point over the course of that event, you can be certain a brilliantly original marketer will compare the process of buying software, industrial machinery, professional services, or some other high ticket B2B item to walking up to a man or woman at a bar, buying them a drink, dating, and finally, marriage. Which is of course, always the end goal when you walk up to someone at a bar, right? Right…

Perhaps the analogy to a linear, increasingly intimate relationship culminating in a decision to spend the rest of your life with someone made sense at some point. But if it ever did, it most certainly doesn’t anymore. Why? Continue reading

Put Your Money Where Your [Word of] Mouth is.

moneymouthYou know that friend who’s always talking about new products and trying to get you to use them? Well, it’s becoming more and more likely they’re being paid to do it.

And why not?

An individual’s span of influence is no longer the dozens of people he/she might come into physical contact with. Now it’s the hundreds, thousands or  hundreds of thousands of followers, fans, and “friends” he’s amassed.

With that potential to impact a company’s sales, why shouldn’t those influencers be paid for the power of their persuasion? Shit, celebrities get money for this stuff all the time. Larry King is on Sunday morning television every week pushing Omega XL (and reminding us he’s still alive). What’s the difference between paying Larry for access to his reputation and audience, vs. paying a blogger with 100,000 followers for access to theirs.

The truth is, there is a difference. It lies in transparency, context, accepted norms, and how we decide to compensate our social media influencers. Continue reading

3 Mistakes When Talking Pull Marketing

schoolWalt Disney. Louis CK. Steve Jobs. Nate Silver. Ellen DeGeneres. Bruce Springsteen.

What do all of these people have in common?

Besides the fact they all have more Twitter followers than I do, they’ve also made a successful career out of telling stories. In fact, they’re among a recent widely circulated list of the top 10 storytellers in the world.

I tell stories too. And I like to think that similar to the distinguished list of business leaders, musicians, comedians, and political data junkies above, the stories I’ve told have helped me with my own success.

Recently I’ve been working on my story around Pull Marketing, and the measurable contribution it can make to a company’s revenue. While our unofficial list of the ‘world’s best storytellers’ tell very different kinds of stories, I’ve learned something from each of them about common mistakes to avoid when talking Pull. Continue reading

A Pull Marketing Revenue Story

seacabolafiesta“Se acabo la fiesta.”

I must have heard that a thousand times as a kid. Literally translated, “party’s over”.  But my mother would use it more broadly whenever she’d had enough of whatever I was doing to piss her off.

If my mother were a technology company CEO, she might say the same to her marketing department. Continue reading

What’s Your Unique Contribution?

20130527-221426.jpgA few years ago a manager said to me, “If Adriel went away tomorrow, what wouldn’t get done? The answer to that question is your unique contribution to this organization. Think about it carefully, and don’t forget it.”

Lots of introspection and half a bottle of Scotch later, I came up with what I thought was a pretty good list.

Every now and then I take out the list and re-evaluate whether those unique contributions are still true. But more importantly, I assess whether they’re still creating sustainable value to the organization that happens to be ‘leasing‘ my capabilities at that moment. Because if they’re not, I’m in trouble. Continue reading

Listen Up! 5 Enablers for Social Listening Success.

monkey-not-listeningThe CDC is now listening to what people say on social media to track outbreaks of the flu and other viruses. Researchers at the University of Warwick were able to increase a mock stock market portfolio by 326% between 2004 and 2011 by looking at search patterns in Google Trends data.  The predictive power of social media in political elections is being watched carefully by candidates around the world.

I’ve said before that good marketing adapts to the world it inhabits. People aren’t just talking politics, stocks, and complaining about being sick on social media. They’re also discussing business pains with their colleagues, researching products and services, and praising or complaining about you.

A couple weeks ago, I gave a presentation on how to use this data to make better business decisions at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago. Below are 5 key enablers I shared with the audience. Continue reading

3 Skills For the Next Generation of Marketers

BBQAhhh, spring.

Sun’s starting to peak through more regularly. New Yorkers are shedding those winter coats. I even drove by a Queens BBQ last night. For those of you that didn’t grow up in Queens NY, it’s just like a regular BBQ, except it takes place on the sidewalk in front of your house with a portable grill and fold-up table and chairs.

Spring also marks the start of summer intern season. Offices across the world will soon be infiltrated by fresh-faced college grads and under-grads looking to validate their choice of major, obtain some ‘real-world’ experience, get a foot in the door for a long-term gig, make a little money to feed their drinking habits, or all of the above.

For the aspiring marketers within that group, the new reality of our chosen profession has had a profound impact on what’s required to be successful.

Here are three skills I believe the next generation of marketers need to possess. Continue reading

The Luck O’ the Innovator

fingers-crossed”If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he still lucky?” – Stainslaw Jerzy Lec

St. Patrick’s Day took place this weekend, and with it came the usual chatter about luck. Not sure how lucky the two guys I saw carrying their friend down 55th St. were, but I guess ‘luck’ can cut both ways…

Got me thinking about the role of luck in creativity and more specifically, successful innovation. In an interview with SEOmoz last week, I was asked where I liked to go when brainstorming creative content ideas.

“Luck is only important insofar as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment.” – Frank Sinatra.

In a way, my response was similar to that of Ol’ Blue Eyes’. Creativity is difficult to force. It’s often serendipitous. But you need to place yourself in an environment where creativity can flourish. It’s in that mindset where luck will find you. And when it does, your own talents will ensure you recognize and seize the opportunities that present themselves. Continue reading

Be Nice. Humanize Your Brand.

BeNiceA few days ago I came across an interview with Lee Cockerell. For those of you who don’t know who he is (count me in that group until a few days ago), Lee held leadership positions at Hilton Hotels and Marriott for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to run worldwide Operations. When he retired from Disney in 2006, he was responsible for 40,000 cast members (that’s a LOT of Mickey ‘mice’…), 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village, and a sports and recreation complex.

Think this is a guy that knows something about building customer relationships?

What struck me the most about the interview was when he discussed his latest book, The Customer Rules. In writing the book, he asked his 12 year old granddaughter to tell him what the first rule of customer service should be.

Her response? “Be nice.” Continue reading