Dec 31, 2008

Milwaukee Tools and YouTube?

Another funny ad in my fun and funny feature of my blog. I wasn't aware of the Milwaukee brand of power tools. But in my quest for the funny ads I came across this 30 second spot that I'd give a thumbs up on the giggle meter.

This video was uploaded by Kruykaze who doesn't appear to have any connection with the company. He may be an accidental spokesperson for Milwaukee but I doubt it.

One wonders whether Milwaukee leveraged this promotional spot or not? Enjoy the video.

Dec 29, 2008

Groundswell Blook Report: Chapter Two-Jujitsu and the technologies of the groundswell

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part one (chapters 1-3) focuses on understanding the groundswell. The authors ask and answer the questions why the groundswell and why now?

Chapter 2. Jujitsu and the technologies of the groundswell
  • Concentrating on the trend, not the technologies
  • Jujitsu: turn the groundswell to your advantage
  • Description of all social technologies with data on usage around the world
FriendFeed Room: Chapter Two reference links and case studies from the book. Join the room and start a conversation.

Feature Presentation: Marta Z. Kagen's presentation. Here's Marta's profile.

Reason #1: Social Media is Mainstream!
Slide 2 & 3: Social Media defined
Slides 7 to 16: Social media demographics and stats
Slides 17 to 24: Traditional marketing communications isn't working
Reason #2: Trust!
Slides 25 to 30: Trust comes from other consumers in the form of recommendations and dialogue
Reason #3: Brand Talk!
Slides 32 to 34: I'm not sold on these stats. Suffice to say, some brands are being blogged about.
Reason #4 & 5: More adoption/Future customers
Slides 36 to 44: Predicted adoption trends, demographics and buying power of digital natives
What to do?: Slides 45 on.

Top Five Things I learned:
1) Does this Groundswell thing fit with you and your company?
The first thing to think about is whether creating a groundswell is possible or not. There are many things to consider. First, how open is management to the idea of engaging online? Do they understand FULLY what this means? Second, do your customers engage in social media activities now and if so how would it make sense for them to engage with you? Third, can you provide something of meaningful value to your customers that also legitimately ties and relates to what you offer?

2) It takes knowledge, time, skills, experience and commitment.
If you're willing to take the plunge into the groundswell a company needs to realize that "getting into" social media is not a fringe project. It's a conscious decision to change the way you engage with customers, prospects and other stakeholders. The management team of your company need to become engaged themselves in social media (chances are that they are not). Leaders lead by example. They need to become knowledgeable, commit their time, build their own skills and experience social media. One way to do this is find a few 20 something employees and have them teach, mentor and potentially lead management in this area.

3) Start slow and focus first on listening and learning
Don't rush into this. Establish a listening and learning strategy first. Chances are that groundswells already exist or are developing somewhere in your industry and the industries that your customers serve. It could be that your best social media bet is in the industries that your customers are in and not your own. Be sure to invest time and effort focused on learning, listening and sharing. Don't run out and start a blog, a community or a Facebook Fan page tomorrow.

4) This is still very new - we are all learning and there are no experts
We are all new at this and we are learning as we go. We are making mistakes and taking risks. This creates uneasiness with companies that don't like uncertainty, need to justify cost and want to control the message and the brand. There is social media roadkill out there including: Walmart, Motrin & Pepsi. There are social media "successes" that are dubious at best. I thank these companies for taking these risks. They are learning opportunities for all of us.

5) Content, Community, Capacity!
There is an emerging theme I'm starting to notice as I study social media. Content is being created at an accelerated rate. Communities are being formed every minute. People are connecting through Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook etc. The information firehose is starting to gush! We now have inboxes for email, tweets and RSS feeds! There is now an abundent supply of information, access to people who want to help and share. What we now must do is think about how we can use the information, the people and the tools to be productive and deliver value.

Dec 26, 2008

Steven Woods, Profile

Steven Woods, co-founder and CTO, Eloqua

Mr. Woods cofounded Eloqua in 1999 and has held the position of Chief Technology Officer since that time. Steven brings to Eloqua years of experience in software architecture, engineering and strategy, and is responsible for defining the product strategy and technology vision at Eloqua.

Steven's insights into the application of technology to the marketing profession have been key to Eloqua's consistent record of client satisfaction and he was recently named as one of Inside CRM's Top CRM Influencers of 2007.

Steven is also a prolific writer on topics related to demand generation and the current transitions within the marketing profession. His book, Digital Body Language explores these topics, and he is a regular writer on his blog of the same name. Steven is also deeply involved with the Eloqua user community, with whom he regularly interacts through the discussions on his Eloqua Artisan blog.

Prior to cofounding Eloqua, Steven worked in corporate strategy at Bain & Company and engineering at Celestica. Steven holds a degree in Engineering Physics from Queen's University.

Dec 24, 2008

Don Chapman, Profile

Don Chapman, Corporate Advisor & Director
(contact at 647 274-9559 or

Don is presently on the advisory board of several companies and also assists company leaders of mid to small IT companies. ( Messaging Architects, Iseehear Inc., Access Group, Gerson Lerhman Group, ACETECH, Metalogic ).

Don retired as President of Novell Canada Ltd. at the end of 2006. Don focused on delivering information solutions to Canadian customers, expanding Novell Canada’s partnerships and promoting Novell’s vision of a ‘One Net’ world where all networks work together to securely connect employees, customers, suppliers and partners. Don was responsible for all facets of the Canadian organization which includes sales, marketing, consulting, support, training, finance and operations. Under his leadership, Novell Canada had achieved significant growth in areas including services, identity management, Linux as well as resource and infrastructure management.

As a seasoned Novell executive, Don’s experience has been tapped for numerous high-level corporate task forces, including global compensation planning as well as the organizational integration from acquisitions such as Cambridge Technology Partners and SilverStream.
Don was also an active participant on the Board of Directors for ITAC (Information Technology Association of Canada) for 5 years

With more than 30 years of experience in the Canadian technology industry, Don joined Novell from Corporate Software Canada Ltd. Under his directorship, he quadrupled revenue and led the company to the No. 1 position in the Canadian software reseller market.

Before joining Corporate Software, Don was Vice President of SHL Computer Innovations (ComputerLand). During his tenure at SHL, Don held a variety of VP positions in marketing, business development and sales, and was instrumental in growing company revenue from $100 million to $400 million through innovative marketing approaches, business mergers and sales productivity growth.

Prior to joining SHL, Don’s experience included four years at Remanco Systems as Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Support, and over 17 years with IBM Canada Ltd. in various senior sales and marketing positions.

Dec 21, 2008

Groundswell Blook Report: Chapter One-Why the Groundswell and why now?

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part one (chapters 1-3) focuses on understanding the groundswell. The authors ask and answer the questions why the groundswell and why now?

FriendFeed Room: Chapter One references links and case studies from the book. Join the room and start a conversation.

Feature Video: Rodney Rumford of FaceReviews, Interviews Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (note: works in Firefox but not Internet Explorer)

Video Timeshift Timeline
o:39 Why read Groundswell?
1:04 The P.O.S.T framework for creating your Groundswell strategy
1:33 Where the name Groundswell came from
2:42 Eating their own dogfood. Online tools used to support book
4:17 "Hey CMOs and Brand Managers. Wake up you have no control!"
5:50 Are companies listening for and to the groundswell? One example: H&R Block using Twitter to listen
7:30 Execs need to do more then ask what social media and networks are. Get involved!
7:58 Final words of wisdom

Top Five Things I learned:
1) Online communities can be powerful and do create change. Leaders like Kevin Rose, who on May 1/07, bet the farm when faced with legal consequences by putting faith in his community of enthusiasts who felt that Digg (and by extension them) should not be censored by anyone. This "act of community" is just one of many that have and are taking place now. People will talk about your company, the message they deliver will be theirs and they will weigh in on your decisions. In some cases they will influence your decisions..sometimes they will change them!

2) Things are the same AND different. People depend and draw strength from each other. Strength is created in numbers. There is a need to create community but in the real world it is hard to find people with similar interests. The internet, with social media networks and services, is making it cheap and easy for people to find, create and support communities of common interests and causes. The natural need for humans to group and converse is being enabled by the social media and online networks. These online communities are now manifesting themselves into IRL (in real life) events such as "Meetups" and "Twitups".

3) Businesses can be built online using shoestring budgets. Guy Kawasaki's site Truemors cost under $13K to launch. If this is not a positive sign given the recession I don't know what is! Online entrepreneurs can launch businesses fast and economically. Whether you are an independent professional or General Motors take heed and learn how to be this way!

4) The two most unlikely things are happening in the blogosphere! Many, but not all, big companies are ignoring or afraid of social media. Many, but not all, "older folks" just don't get blogging and all that "web 2.0" stuff. Bob Lutz the vice chairman of GM started blogging, in 2005, to establish a human side to GM. Bob is in his seventies! Big business is blogging and us older folks are leading the charge along with the younger folks like Kevin Rose. In fact GM is using their blog to engage with car enthusiasts and from time to time will use it to address erroneous and inaccurate statements made by automobile journalists.

5) Groundswells are or will be created around you. The book defines a groundswell as:

A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from
each other, rather than from institutions like corporations.
The smart companies will embrace this phenomena because people will be sharing stories about their brand whether they be positive or negative. Learn with your customers and from the community.

Local Twitter List experiment

Social networking isn't restricted to the internet. We all want to socialize but there are barriers preventing us from social networking offline especially with people we don't know. Twitter has got to be the most prevalent social networking tool (today).

The problem I have with Twitter is not really knowing much about the people I follow and who follow me. I trying to remedy this by creating "Listening Posts" and now "Twitter Locals Lists". This list is meant to segment Twitterati based on geography. In a way help you establish a local network of people with similar interests who may want to get together, work together etc.

I'm using a simple form I created using Google Docs and anyone can view the lists. In fact, you can fill out the form below. Here is the list for you to look at.

Dec 20, 2008

Blook Report: Groundswell

Over the next few months (may be longer, I'm doing this in my spare time) I'm going to be producing an in-depth blog report on the book "Groundswell" researched and written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

The book is broken into three parts:

Part 1: Understanding the Groundswell
Part 2: Tapping the Groundswell
Part 3: The Groundswell Transforms

Here is the table of contents.

I'm an avid reader of business books and love to learn. I read so many books, blogs, magazines and now tweets; I sometimes wonder how much I actually remember and retain! Having access to so much information is a good problem to have. We can now become subject matter experts because there is no shortage of content and people wanting to help educate you.

Yet, the problem remains the same. How can I retain and remember the many things I read each day? When I read "the" business book of the year, how will I remember what I read; let alone apply it to my business?

These questions led me to come up with the idea of producing what I call a "blook report". My goal is to use social media to the extent possible to add life to the text you read in the book. You'll need to buy the book in order to follow along (I'm not being paid to do this blook report or say this).

So what does a blook report include? At this point I focus on three things:
  • First, providing a summary blog post for each chapter on the key points that I think are important. I may relate them to personal experiences also
  • Each blog post will have a featured picture, video and links that lift the words off of the text to help build context and meaning behind the key concepts being covered in the chapter
  • and finally, there will be a series of supportive links located in a Friendfeed room where the the authors have made reference to real world examples, case studies etc
So why am I doing this? First, I am avid learner and will use this blook report as a reference tool when helping companies with their b2b programs. Second, it may help you do the same thing for your clients or your company. Third, it's a social media/groundswell experiment.

Stay tuned to this post for updates.

PART ONE: Understanding the Groundswell
Chapter One: Why the groundswell and why now?
Chapter Two: Jujitsu and the technologies of groundswell
Chapter Three: The social technographics profile

PART TWO: Tapping the groundswell
Chapter Four: Strategies for tapping the groundswell
Chapter Five: Listening to the groundswell
Chapter Six: Talking with the groundswell
Chapter Seven: Energizing the groundswell
Chapter Eight: Helping the groundswell support itself
Chapter Nine: Embracing the groundswell

Humour and Advertising

This ad makes you laugh and informs us that Midas sells more than oil changes. I've always enjoyed ads that are motivating or funny.

Dec 16, 2008

Group Tweet Feeds or Listening Posts

In a previous post I introduced as a new feature my CxO Group Tweet Feeds. This has grown into a series of RSS feed lists which I call "Listening Posts". Below is my list. Enjoy. As always feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Tweeting Brands
Tweeting CEOs
Tweeting CTOs/CIOs
Tweeting CMOs
Tweeting COOs

I may consolidate the CxO tweets into one uber RSS feed. Thoughts? Does an aggregate feed work for you? I'm still thinking on it myself!

How one leader is impacting society

One of the many CEOs I follow is Richard Branson. He's a visionary and believes in giving back to the community and helping people. Entrepreneurs can have a positive impact on society. In fact, Peter Drucker has stated that a key objective for a business should be how it will impact society. This video gives you a first had look at how this can and is being done. UPDATE: Richard Branson is now on Twitter.

Dec 15, 2008

Not sure what they are selling but the ad is funny

Do these leadership traits apply to business as well as politics?

A poll was recently taken asking Canadians to rate the leadership traits of Michael Ignatieff, Liberal party leader; Stephen Harper, Prime Minister and Jack Layton, New Democratic party leader.

One wonders if these same questions can be asked of business leaders?

1) Is honest and trustworthy
2) Has a vision for our company's future
3) Understands the problems of customers
4) Can manage the finances of the company effectively
5) Is strong and decisive leader
6) Understands complex issues
7) Generally agrees with you on issues you care about
8) Inspires confidence
9) Cares about the environment

It's an interesting comparison and maybe not an apples to apples comparison, but it makes one think.
Posted by Picasa

Dec 14, 2008

Some new features to my blog for 2009

This blog focuses on b2b marketing (my formal definition of what b2b marketing is or should be is coming shortly) and where social media fits into the scheme of things. The primary purpose of this blog is to share, learn and collaborate on this often misunderstood and evolving discipline.

The secondary purpose is for me to experiment with this collaboration tool and push it to the limit!

With that in mind I'm adding a few new "features" to my blog:

1) Fun and Funny Posts - I'll share things that are funny, nostalgic but still up to my blog tagline: "A blog about marketing and social media that matters from a b2b perspective". An example is a retro ad from Intel featuring our friend Homer Simpson. I hope you enjoy these posts and they make you smile and think. If you have any funny b2b oriented ads let me know and I may post them.

2) Group Tweet Feeds or Listening Posts - Twitter is great but as you follow more people you'll lose track of who they are, what they do and where they work. You may want to group followers based on where they live/work, what they do..etc. I've done that for CxOs.

I've taken Paul Dunay's list of C Level Tweeters and grouped them using Friend Feed and Google Reader. The result is a consolidated feed from all CEOs, CMOs and CIOs/CTOs who are using Twitter. Sometimes you'll find out that they are stuck in traffic or going pheasant hunting (Chief Development Officer from Kodak by the way) but that's ok and kinda cool.

Please note that these are not prospecting lists. They are "listening lists". These folks, just like you and me, have little time and don't want to be sold. They are choosing to share their thoughts, ideas and what they are doing with their followers. Don't abuse this privilege by using it as a channel to blatently sell. UPDATE: Here's an example of what not to do.

3) Blook Reports - this stands for Blog Book Report (ya, a bit hokey but best I could come up with and I like sqwords). I'm going to bring a book to life using this blog. I'm a huge reader of business books and love to learn and share.

I've come up with the idea of doing a blook report that will provide you (and me, because it will become my reference guide) with an overview of a book I'm reading. I'm working out the details on how I'll do this; but it will include providing key findings/notes that I think are important, use videos, images and case studies that will give more meaning to the words in the book. It could be used as a study aid.

Blook reports are not meant to stop you from buying the book. It's meant to encourage you to buy the book and use the blook report to follow along with what you're reading. My first blook report will be on Groundswell. I recommend you buy this book. For those of you who have read it feel free to share your thoughts and contribute to the blook report once I start posting.

Update: Groundswell Blook Report now underway.

Stay tuned. Seasons Greetings to everyone.

Goals for 2009! =)

A new aspect to my blog will be my posting things that hopefully make you smile, laugh and stretch the imagination (not necessarily all at the same time though, that might be a tad painful). I figure even in the best of times having fun and sharing funny things ad flavour to our personal and professional lives. With that in mind please enjoy this presentation.

Holidayfun 1
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: fun planning)

Dec 13, 2008

Intel Retro Ad

It's kind of neat to put the breaks on and see where us marketing types have come from and what we've done in past years. Enjoy this 30 second spot from Intel featuring Homer Simpson.

A couple of things about this ad. First, look at the size of the Intel processer! Second, will we have Intel chips in our bodies one day?

Dec 7, 2008

A 90 Second View: B2B Outbound vs Inbound Marketing

Hubspot has produced some viral ads on YouTube poking fun at outbound marketing. It, and another one on cold calling, suggests that outbound marketing is literally "out" and inbound marketing is "in". My advice is look before you leap and if you're not measuring ROI on all your marketing/business development initiatives (outbound or inbound) then

Take a hard look at what your routes to market are and whether they are building your reputation, generating awareness and demand. Develop some integrated programs that build your reputation, generate awareness and revenue. I keep my 4 R's of marketing framework in mind as a develop and implement programs.

While Hubspot's ads may be a bit one sided, they are bang on that inbound marketing is a route to market that should be fully used, measured and optimized. Marketing/Business Development programs need to leverage both inbound and outbound marketing tactics, tools and resources in the form of integrated programs that are measured.

Looking for that Next Billion Dollar Idea - ProductCampToronto

Congratulation to Anna Gossen and her team for winning the Cisco I-Prize contest.

My team's idea, the HAN (Home Area Network - ya not that original! But it's what's inside that counts =)) was also a finalist. I led a session at ProductCampToronto about my I-Prize experience entitled "Looking for that Next Billion Dollar Idea". This wiki post gives you an overview of what the experience was like and includes some videos that may be of interest. Do you think there is a need for idea and innovation contests?

Dec 2, 2008

A 90 Second View: Seth Godin on Blogging, a follow up conversation

In my "To Blog or Not to Blog" post the answer from Tom Peters and Seth Godin was a "YES". Here's a follow up conversation that Debbie Weil had with Seth Godin afterwards.

A 90 Second View: Tom Peter's on Blogging, a follow up conversation

In my "To Blog or Not to Blog" post the answer from Tom Peters and Seth Godin was a "YES". Here's a follow up conversation that Debbie Weil had with Tom Peter's afterwards.

Nov 29, 2008

A 90 Second view: The Potential of Collaboration using Social Media

A 90 Second View: "To blog or not to blog, that is the question"

Not convinced that blogging makes sense for your business or your career? Seth Godin and Tom Peters, arguably the top thought leaders in business management and marketing, weigh in on this topic. Here's what they have to say. Next step? If you blog, keep doing it. If you don't .... think about starting!

Nov 19, 2008

Free Online Education for Business Professionals

Jack Sandler Bloom is on a mission to provide free online education to the world. Jack has set up a collaborative learning space called "Life" using Ning's social networking service. This is interesting in two ways.

First, in the past if you wanted to learn you relied on an institution to provide you with three things. 1) Curriculum and content, 2) Knowledge and Interaction and 3) A degree. Life and MIT's OpenCourseWare while not considered "formal education" provide life learning students access to quality educational content and the opportunity to interact with thought leaders and learners. To quote Meatloaf: "Two out of three ain't bad".

Second, here's a situation where an educator is trying to build an interactive learning community using social networking services such as Ning. It's an interesting learning experience also!

Below is Lesson Two which is an extensive case study on Google.

Find more videos like this on Life

Nov 18, 2008

Getting "Ink" for your customers

In an earlier post entitled The Importance of Strategic References I talked about how I worked with the Michener Institute, while at Unis Lumin, to generate awareness for their digital slide technology. The direct result was a cover story in Technology for Doctors magazine. This print publication reaches over 10,000 primary care physicians and specialists across Canada.

Michener was thrilled with the publicity they received. We provided them with reprints of the article to use to their advantage. They have and continue to leverage this publicity to raise awareness and funding for new initiatives. There are some who won't see the immediate payback for Unis Lumin but my philosophy is that we partnered with Michener to help them showcase a solution that was made possible in part by Unis Lumin. This was one of my favourite experiences during my 7 years at Unis Lumin.

If you'd like to listen to the case study here's a podcast I had produced by Donna Papacosta from Trafalagar Communications.

Nov 16, 2008

Best Buy social media case study

Dear Mr. and Ms. Executive,

Please enjoy the video below. It shows how Best Buy is using social media to create connections, knowledge and collaborate. I hope this video encourages you and your company to adopt and embrace social media. It empowers people, it connects people and it includes people. The future of your company rests in the hands of your people. Give them tools like these and let them create.

Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson in conversation with Peter Hirshberg at Google Zeitgeist from peter hirshberg on Vimeo.

Nov 10, 2008

Weak Economy? Strengthen your B2B relationships.

This is an interesting video on the importance of building strong relationships in the B2B space. Creating strategic relationships brings mutual benefit to the customer and supplier. In an earlier post I talked about the importance of strategic references. These are strategic relationships you establish with key customers and partners in order to help all parties be successful.

Given the challenges we face with our economy now may be a good time for you to take a look at your customers and suppliers and figure out new ways to work together to weather this economical storm. The video by Traci Entel from Katzenback Partners below may give you some ideas.

Timeshift Track
00:00 to 2:00
* Empathy defined
* Expedia used empathy to think about their relationships with their suppliers
* Empathy is rare in the B2B space with little emphasis on building strategic relationships
* Expedia challenges and what they did to overcome them

2:00 to 4:30
* Expedia decided to become partners with their suppliers
* The importance of philosophy follow through when enacting change
* Involving employees in change discussion helps drive behaviour and institutionalizes change
* Listen and learn

Additional resources:
* Importance of Strategic References, Marketing That Matters
* The "4 R's of Marketing", Marketing That Matters
* Expedia Interactive Case Study, Businessweek

Nov 7, 2008

Using Linkedin to find an ad agency and investors

What I love about Linkedin is that they are continually innovating. I love learning and a new feature offered by these guys is "how to use Linkedin"! Imagine a company showing you how to use their product to your advantage. This simple video shows you what is possible. Enjoy the video!

What is LinkedIn? from LinkedIn Marketing on Vimeo.

Nov 6, 2008

ProductCampToronto1 Mindmap

I put this online mindmap together as a bit of an experiment. One branch lists the folks who were involved in organizing PCT1 with links to their blogs/sites. Another branch has our sponsors and links to their sites. The remaining branches are the sessions that took place with are linked to the PCT1 wiki page. While the sessions went well, not many notes were taken on the wiki. There were not that many people with laptops so this is understandable.

I'm hopeful that over the next little while PCT1 participants and the session leads will add their thoughts and ideas to these wiki pages so the PCT1 experience can continue.

Nov 3, 2008

Pictures from ProductCampToronto

Oct 29, 2008


There is a lot of buzz around (here comes the laundry we marketers suck!) collaboration, unified communications, knowledge mgt, social media, social networking, web 2.0, web 3.0, semantic web, presence, iphones, tags, folksonomy, user contribution, social bookmarking.....yadda, yadda, yadda. Whether you view these as technologies, services, apps doesn't really matter. What matters is what you do with them and what you get out of them.

Social media and collaboration can be broken down into five key experience categories:
  1. How it makes us feel. We are using it to emotionally connect with friends and family. To build a social support mechanism so to speak. Examples: Facebook, mySpace, Twitter.
  2. How it builds on what and who we know. We use tools and services to build our knowledge and our network of people. We want to know things, know people and some of us want to be known. Examples: Wikis, Blogs, Friendfeed, Linkedin, Ning, Squidoo
  3. How we use it as a soapbox to tell people what we think about things.We write posts and comments about things that matter, things we like, things we don't like and ideas we have and invite people to join in the conversation. This conversation creates an iterative thinking dynamic where people can interact, persuade, argue and explain. We voice our opinions and test our thinking. Examples: Blogs, Ning, FriendFeed, Knol
  4. How we use it as a gateway to share our information, experiences, successes and failures. Whether it's pictures, career successes or a video of that big ass fish you caught we want to share. Examples: Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, Google Reader, Google Notebook, Facebook, Linkedin
  5. How it enables us to do stuff. Whether it is to make an idea real, raise money, manage a project or do something on the side we want to get things done. Examples: Basecamp, BatchBook, Freshbooks, eBay.
My question is when will a social media application do these five things in an integrated fashion? Perhaps the better question is should it? From a business perspective the social media application that can accelerate and institutionalize knowledge, create tribes of collaborators and subject matter experts, build strong professional AND productive relationships that create results will be the killer app! If you've got something in mind...I'm all ears.

Tribal Leadership, the case study

Tribal Leadership, a book I recommended in an earlier post, toured and below is a play by play breakdown of that video. This company clearly is a "Stage 4" tribe and they get it. Here's why:

First, they get the fact that what matters the most in any business is people.

Second, they understand the importance of creating an atmosphere that is fun, comfortable and collaborative and fosters community.

Third, coaching and goal setting is extremely important as is recognition of achieving goals.

Fourth, executives have an open door policy and they sit in cubes. No offices, no bull, no favourtism.

Fifth, they know what key metrics matter and they measure and publish their results.

Enjoy the video.

Tour of, A "stage 4" tribe (at least!)
:10 Fun time
:33 Nap time
1:15 Emotional Connection with customer
1:49 Key performance indicators - measure, measure, measure
2:16 The three important questions around customer loyalty
2:30 Introducing "Doc". Coaching, goal setting and recognition.
3:18 Special group dedicated to research and resolution for customers (The "R" Desk)
3:40 Showing results for all to see
4:30 Lot's of smiling faces, party environment
4:55 Monkey row, where the execs sit. Free books for all staff and no "class" system
6:00 Open door policy, stir the pot and hear the buzz. No disconnected executives here!
6:15 Business units sit together. "Ride Shops", "Outdoor shops"
6:25 Sectioning of sites around themes like "running" and creating communities with blogs and events

Additional Articles on Zappos:
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh: Customer Focus Key to Record Sales During Retail Slump

Tribal Leadership, the book

There are few business books that stand the test of time. The ones that you can re-read and they still make sense. Books like Good to Great, Built to Last and In Search of Excellence are a few that come to mind. The book Tribal Leadership is one that may qualify as re-readable! The concept is very simple but real. If you get right right down to the core of human nature we are members of tribes of interest, community and necessity. I'm hearing the word "Tribe" being used in my daughters school. This book talks about the different types of phases that tribes go through...and how they evolve from a me to a we culture. I recommend you add this book to your business library., a "Stage 4" tribe are providing a free audio version here.

Oct 28, 2008

Thank you!

ProductCampToronto is this Sunday! Wow. The event is "sold out" with about 160 folks registered and we have a fantastic slate of sponsors who are underwriting the cost of this event so participants don't need to open their wallets to participate....we want all participants to open their minds and mouths and participate!

Thank you for registering, thank you for sponsoring, thank you for participating and contributing. This is going to be a great event.

Oct 26, 2008

Plagiarism, Concealment or Coincidence? The Case of Bob Beck

It appears Bob Beck plagiarized the work of Charles H. Green. Both are consultants / trainers. The evidence here looks very convincing. Spread the word about Bob Beck.

read more | digg story

Introducing the Zoomer!

Moses Znaimer, founder of Zoomer Media, and Executive Director from CARP (Cdn. Assoc. of Retired Persons) has a vision for us folksover 4 5. It's about time! A Zoomer is not just about age it's about
a mindset and a desire to excel in life. I'm a Zoomer and I won't settle for stereotypes as I progress in life. I'm 45 and listen to Katy Perry, pretend to be Iron Man, joke around with my 21 year old daughter and hang out with my 12 year old daughter. I'm going to buy Rockband this weekend and will belt out some tunes while members of my family play drums and lead guitar.

Here's an interview of Moses done by the CBC

1:00 - Moses starts thinking about what to do for Zoomers (including him)
1:20 - Journalists and advertisers are stuck and don't get it
2:25 - Boomers have the money
2:40 - Zoomer TV application filed to CRTC in 2000
3:10 - We are aging differently then our parents
3:20 - Moses is accumulating and creating media around the Zoomer market that advertisers have yet to realize is attractive

I'm heading over to the Zoomer Show to hang out with my contemporaries on November 1st. Twit me if you're gonna be there.

Oct 22, 2008

Going Global! It's not that hard

Google Analytics report 

Google Analytics, as many of you will know, is a free service that you can use to track how many people are visiting your site. It tells you things like how many unique visitors you are getting, what pages they read, how long they read them and where they live. There is a bunch of other things that it tells you. What is amazing to me is that this service is free and that it provides rich reports that tell me a lot about the people that read stuff on this blog.

The map above shows you where people are from that have been reading my blog over the past month. As I earn and build a readership (hopefully more comments will be coming to create some debate and discussion) I hope to build some global relationships with business professionals. This blog could be a good way to get that done. What do you think?

Oct 20, 2008

What have we created?

What were we thinking? Let's face it most people find advertising misleading, telemarketing annoying and direct e/mail a nuisance. People are skeptical when they see "special offers" and are fed up with bad customer service. People timeshift TV shows, delete unread emails, screen calls and avoid any form of contact with those of us who market and sell stuff.

People have brought their distaste and negative experiences with advertising, marketing and selling to their day jobs and put in place mechanisms and behaviours that protect them from solicitation, selling and marketing. They let themselves be "selectively" marketed and sold to when they need information and access to intellectual capital. They do everything they can to get free advice (proposals, free briefings, "pre-sales" consultations etc) without making any financial commitment to the service/solution provider. Can you blame them? Heck we've created a "marketing monster"!

We've made our bed and now we've got to sleep in it. There are ways to have honest exchanges with prospective buyers. I'll delve into this in later posts.

Oct 19, 2008

Value Proposition, Smalue Proposition!

I meet with customers regularly and I've come to the conclusion (so far) that value proposition is in the eyes of the beholder. The beholder of value is the prospective customer and the customer. Not the sales dude, the marketing guy, the owner, the president of your company. The biggest risk we all take is not staying in touch with the customer and diligently assessing their "value compass".

Value propositions, those statements that people use to "define" what's unique about their company, products and services can be dangerous. Why? I think too many companies establish a "value prop" and then hang their hats on it. It then sits in the corner gathering dust.

I'm of the view that customers are more interested in meaningful relationships with you and depending on what's important to them they define what value they want and need. This may sound a bit confusing but I'm learning that each customer picks tangible and intangible things from what you offer AND do with/for the customer....and they constantly reassess that value based on their ongoing experiences or lack of experiences with you.

These value priorities are contingent on what matters to the customer at that given moment in time both personally and professionally. You can't waive a generic value proposition in a someones face and expect them to go "ya, great that's exactly what I need". What you can do though, is give examples of how others are getting value from their relationship with you. This creates a meaningful conversation which can lead to a meaningful relationship.

What do Product Managers Do?

The folks over at Enthiosys have an interesting post called "Revenue Products need Product Managers, not Product Owners". In the post they define what product managers do as:
Product Managers bear primary responsibility for the success of their products (services). They drive vision, roadmaps, target segments, market success metrics and customer acceptance. When executives demand one neck to choke, a Product Manager steps forward.
Head over to this post and give it a read and add to their conversation. Even if you are not a software product manager read the post. Regardless of what products you make the information and advice they give is invaluable.

Consider raising this topic at ProductCampToronto.

Oct 12, 2008

Here's the main area for ProductCamp Toronto

Picture 032
Originally uploaded by b2bspecialist
Well, this area will be filled with at least 70 people on November 2nd! This is the main foyer where PCT participants will register, mingle and chat and where you will vote with your "stickies" for the sessions that are most important to you. All part of the "Open Grid" concept.

There will be four or more break out rooms on the same floor for each session. Where you see the windows where light is coming in is an outside patio where folks can get some air and chill out.

This venue, I'm told, has wireless connectivity.

Oct 11, 2008

What B2B Topics interest you?

My pet project, this blog, will evolve into the center piece of my B2B Specialist "persona" or brand if you will. With that in mind I need to earn an audience of readers with an aim to establish an inter-professional community of B2B marketing enthusiasts, students and collaborators.


So, your voice counts! If there is something that you want to learn, share and get perspective on let me know. This B2B marketing blog isn't about me as much as it is about the B2B marketing profession and the loosely knit community of professionals that are challenged to produce results for their companies.

What topic areas would you like to see posts about?

(FYI - this post made using Windows Live Writer)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Oct 10, 2008

A tour of ProductCamp Toronto's Venue

Picture 030
Originally uploaded by b2bspecialist

Barry Clavir, one of the lead dudes helping us with PCT, and I paid a visit to Ryerson today to conduct a site tour for PCT. Here is a photo of one of the session rooms I took to give PCT campers an advanced look see. For more photos of the tour visit my Flickr Group...enjoy!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Oct 4, 2008

Less then 1 month till ProductCamp!

PCT, big banner

We're less then a month away from Canada's first ProductCamp!We're excited and hopeful that we will have a great turn out on November 2nd.

Here's a quick update:

  • We are firming up sponsors and it looks like we're going to be able to offer a free T-shirt to participants. Here's the current list of sponsors with more coming on soon.
  • This weekend we hope to have the preliminary "Open Grid" posted so you can get a feel for what's planned first thing when you arrive. It will explain how the day will unfold.
  • I'd like for you to visit this page that outlines our goals for this event and to read our "cause". If you think it sucks feel free to change it/make it better. That's what this is all creating and making change
  • And finally, please ensure you now formally register as a participant so we know who's going to show up....we need this because we want everyone to be fed, have a shirt etc. Please register here.. our goal is to have 100 people attend this event!

Remember this event belongs to us all. An event that creates and brings together a community of people interested in the product management profession. Those that want to better their skills, social networks and careers. I think it will also create new friendships and professional relationships. Let us know what you want to get out of PCT.

Sep 30, 2008

Do not call? =)

Kind of ironic that you can't get through to put your number on the do not call list! The web site isn't working either. I guess it may have been hard to predict how many people would want to be on the on-call list. I'd be guessing pretty much every one with a phone number though.

Here's an article from the CBC on the frustrations people are experiencing.

Bells do not call app not working

On a positive note I think it is great that this option now exists for us. Interruption based marketing is going the way of the dinosaur.

Feel free to register your number here. [UPDATE: It seems to be working now]

Sep 27, 2008

Let me introduce you to the B2B Specialist!

Today, I've decided to establish a clear delineation between my professional online "persona" from that of my personal one. The problem I want to avoid is mixing professional friendships and relationships with personal ones. My professional persona will evolve around my being a B2B (Business to Business) specialist and student. This blog has been focusing primarily on B2B Marketing & Sales which will still be the case. I will be exploring other B2B areas of interest to me that relate to these core areas of focus. This includes customer relations, social media, product management, knowledge and talent workers. These functional lines are merging.

Professionally speaking I had a blast helping grow Unis Lumin into something very special, having been a finalist in Cisco's I-Prize Contest, a global social media driven innovation contest and I'm now, with the help of many others bringing ProductCamp to Toronto.

Why this "delineation"? Well, quite honestly do you really want to see pictures of me going down a rollercoaster, or sitting at the beach or mountain biking?! =)

So, that's enough about me! What I hope this can mean to you is that we can establish a professional connection of mutual value. In the coming months I'll be setting up my Professional Persona and social media network. I consider myself a B2B specialist AND student especially in the areas of marketing, sales, product innovation and leadership.

If you're interested in connecting feel free to subscribe to my FriendFeed channel located on the right side of my blog. Over time, I hope to create some cool social media experiences with you.

I'm still undecided but the Liberals get a nod!

Tyler and Kyle, Liberal canvassers It's 11:30 on a Saturday and I get a knock at the door...ugh! Who's selling me something now, I'm thinking. It turns out it is Tyler and Kyle canvassing my block for Bonnie Brown, the incumbent Liberal candidate (in case you didn't know there is an election in Canada coming up too!). My response? Wow!

Young adults have been criticized of not getting involved in politics.... don't get me started on this because many older adults "don't bother" to vote. Kudos to Tyler and Kyle (who gave me thumbs up to blog about them and post their photo, thx dudes) for getting involved in politics. If they knock on your door, even if you're not voting for Bonnie, encourage them and show how much you appreciate their commitment to get involved in the political process. We need more youth to get involved! We need to listen and learn from them. We need them to become our next leaders.

Sep 24, 2008

Example of an Open Grid session

Open Grid Another example of an unconference in action. This post talks about the Open Grid process. We'll be finalizing our Open Grid approach shortly. In the meantime, if you haven't registered for ProductCampToronto give it some serious thought. Here's where you can register, as well as see who's planning on attending. Head over to our proposed sessions to see what's been proposed....add to the list!

Sep 23, 2008

A quick look at what an Unconference is like

What is cool about this video is that it gives you a slice of what an unconference is like. This is a Startup event and I noticed three key things in this video.

First, you get to see them going through the Open Grid process. Where sessions are proposed and voted on in real time and the event schedule is generated on the fly. This is the first major activity that takes place an an unconference. Why is this cool? Because the participants that show up are what matter! We have over 40 potential session topics for PCT. These topics and new ones will be "proposed during the Open Grid session and participants decide which ones are most interesting and relevant! Cool!

Second, it shows you how interactive and engaging this type of event can be. No bullcrap presentations, no sales pitches... just authentic conversations about things that are important to the participants.

Third, it shows an interesting activity called "speed geeking" something we may think about doing for PCT.

Shameless PCT Promotion..podcast interview

Trafcom News.jpg Special thanks to Donna Papacosta host of the Trafcom News Podcast for interviewing me about ProductCampToronto. Donna attended our Pubnight on August 6th. The interview starts about 17 minutes into the podcast and lasts 2 minutes. An easy way to listen to this podcast from your screen is to use the blubrry player (see the "Listen Now" option to the right of her post).

Thanks for your help in promotiong ProductCamp Toronto Donna!

Aug 8, 2008

Great Pubnight Experience!

Wednesday night's Pubnight was a very interesting and rewarding experience for me and hopefully those who attended. We had about 20 or so folks attend. Here's what was really cool about this event:
First, there were no awkward introduction moments. Ever been to one of those "networking" events where you feel like you’re a duck out of water? It's almost like you feel forced to have a conversation. You have second thoughts about giving out your business card in case someone calls you selling something! Well it didn't feel that way at all! We all have genuine interest in product marketing/mgt and hopefully we all have invested interest in the success of PCT. Two attendees re-connected with those they'd not seen in months…that was real nice to see.
Second, I met some really cool people too! I met Libin (PCT's "unofficial" photographer!) who is a Ruby on Rails developer. Libin came from China about 3 years ago. He couldn't speak very much English but now his English is better then mine. If you want to see some of his work head over to LearnHub.

I met Melina who is the product manager over at Idee Inc. They have a really neat image search engine called TinEye. They are looking for more beta users...give it a shot! Idee has a pretty cool work environment, in fact, every Friday they have an informal "open house" where you can pop in. Check with them first though! =)

I talked with Adriana, who is working with a University on a system that facilitates innovation, learning and knowledge sharing. Sign me up!

Shaji from Esprida and I talked about "slash people". Chances are you are a slash person. Think about all the things you do in your professional and private life. For example I'm a marketing dude at a company, I'm bringing ProductCamp to Toronto (with folks like you), I blog etc, etc. I'm a marketing dude/pct organizor/blogger…etc. What this means is that many people have varied interests that round out their lives. There's a book about this but I don't know the title. I wonder how this concept of slash people might result in new products and services coming to market?

Donna Papacosta, from Trafcom News, and I talked about her recent Podcamp experience. PodcampToronto was a huge success! But, what really struck me as a true example of what an unconference is all about was what was missing the day of the event. The event was held at the Rogers Communications Center but if I recall correctly the pop machines were unplugged so participants didn't have anything to drink. In the true spirit of an unconference Donna and a couple of others went and bought water for everyone. No complaints, no waiting for someone to solve the problem. Instead, taking action for the betterment of all those involved. Pretty cool.

So, to sum things up I had a great experience! I hope all those who attended did as well. For those of you who couldn't make it … join us in September..yup we're having another pubnight!

Finally, thanks to Chris Gurney for coming up with the idea of having a pubnight!

Jul 17, 2008

Thanks Pragmatic Marketing!

Thanks to Pragmatic Marketing for promoting ProductCampToronto in your July 2008 news letter.

Jul 16, 2008

Help shape and promote ProductCampToronto!

ProductCampToronto is gaining momentum. Our August 6th pub night is full, our Facebook membership is up to 34 and Toronto Product Management Association has joined us along with you as we move towards our goal of making this event a learning and networking success.
We'd like to begin gathering ideas and thoughts around many things but two important areas are around session topics and publicity.
  • We've started a discussion thread called "call for session topics" where we need you to suggest Product Mgt/Marketing topics that you'd like to put forward for PCT. Also, let us know if you want to lead the session too.
  • Also, we are looking for those who have blogs to promote PCT. I see two types of bloggers being important to us. First, there are those who will do the odd post to promote and help us out. No complaints here from us! The second type of blogger is someone who plans on persistently blogging on PCT. Either way, we're not picky!
So, if you want to get involved in the "call for session topics" discussion visit our Google Groups site here. If you're interested in our planning activities feel free to visit here. If you do a post on your blog or want to become a PCT blogger let me know and we will add you to our Delicious site here.

Jul 9, 2008

Welcome Chris Gurney to ProductCampToronto

Welcome Chris Gurney to the ProductCampToronto planning group. Chris is a Technical Marketing Manager at Blueprint. They develop a pretty cool requirements definition tool called Requirements Center.

In the past Chris has worked in positions in quality assurance, development, consulting, technical sales, and product management. Over this period he has developed a good sense of how to effectively translate customer needs into great product ideas — it involves talking with them!

Chris is a member of the Toronto Product Marketing Association. He recently wrote about the value of having a ProductCamp here on his blog. He also lays out how we are using social media applications for this event.

ProductCampToronto pub night!

The wheels are in motion for our first PCT pub! To kick things off we're planning a pub night at Fionn MacCool's tentatively set for Wed Aug 6th (it was originally July 31st). The goal will be to hook up, network and talk about PCT, and what we want out of it. We're limiting this to 20 seats for the time-being. Stay tuned for registration details.

UPDATE: It was a blast.

Jul 7, 2008

"The Association"?!

I'm concerned about the cost to join associations. With unconferences, social media and mesh events you've got to wonder what value does an old age association provide me as a professional marketer.

Look at the dues to join the Canadian Marketing Association. Wow! Add another associations dues of about $10K and I'm looking at a cost of $25K for just two associations. As a member I get discounts on events but hey it ain't much! Add the fact that I have to invest my time in participation and the ROI on this investment is looking pretty grim in my eyes and the President of my company.

I imagine many marketing professionals are looking for more valuable ways to network and learn. Unconferences and social networking is the way to go IMHO! I'm hopeful that associations like these will think about how they price their services in the future. They may want to think about getting involved as sponsors for various unconference events like ProductCampToronto.

Meaningful online video conversations?

An interesting video based conversation on the topic of social marketing and education. Can Seesmic be used to engage with customers to get authentic feedback on your products and services? Let's watch to see how the online conversation evolves. See below.

Jul 3, 2008

FriendFeed Room for ProductCampToronto

FriendFeed seems to be heading in the same direction as Twitter in popularity. If you're interested in knowing more about FriendFeed pop over to this post.

I've set up a FriendFeed room for ProductCampToronto. A room is like a mini FriendFeed for a particular subject or group of people. Everyone in your room can share stuff with each other and leave comments that only other people in your room can see. Check it out and join our FriendFeed room.

The core social media tools are in place for networking, communication and collaboration. In the next week I'll be putting together a proposed plan for this event. Stay tuned!

Jun 30, 2008

Branding or Scarring?

In an earlier post on branding I talked about how important your reputation is in the market. Focusing on how customers are benefiting from your products and services and what they think and feel about your company is vital.

My company has recently commissioned a research firm to interview high level executives to explore the challenges they are experiencing in their business particularly in the area of unified communications. We're learning some interesting things about branding too!

This is proprietary primary research so I won't go into too much detail but when it comes to your brand the feedback we are getting will blow your mind! Well, actually, it's pretty much common sense. Get rid of your slogans, your catch phrases and focus on being consistent and deliver on what you say you will deliver on. Be clear on what you can do for your customer, be flexible, if something screws up ... fix it and always do your very best to NOT disappoint your customer.

Work with your customers to understand what their expectations are and how their experience has been working with your company so far. Combine this with a solid reference program and you've got the makings of a one, two punch.

The picture above is meant to stimulate a discussion about branding. Who benefits from branding? The cow or the farmer? What's the branding experience for the cow? Pleasent or painful? How do you brand your product and company?

Jun 24, 2008

Success Story Podcasts

In an earlier post I covered the importance of strategic references and case studied the Michener Institute who demonstrated Digital Microscopy. My company designed a secure high speed network which enabled Michener to role Digital Microscopy as a educational medium for their students.

We showcased their solution at a healthcare tradeshow. During the show I had editors from various publications visit our booth to see this solution and talk to our customer. After a demo and conversation with Michener we provided them with a media stick which had a written case study and podcast success story interview on it.

The podcast is an interview of the key visionary leaders at Michener who talk about this innovative project and how it can re-define how we teach and how we deliver healthcare.

Jun 22, 2008

Social Media that matters

These are just some of the many social media services available under the web2.0 phenomena we are now experiencing. More services are coming online everyday.

I'm having a lot of fun playing in this web2.0 sandbox. Some of these tools are a fun, help me be productive and I'm meeting new people. I'm all for this stuff!

But, something is happening that is making me wonder. It's all around the concept of spreading yourself too thin and information fragmentation. At the end of the day one needs to look at all these services and define what they need and want and figure out how these tools solve their problems and achieve their goals. I'm one of those people starting to get confused about what to use and why!

I write and read blogs, I bookmark sites, I socially network. But over time am I going to get exhausted trying to maintain and manage all these social media activities? If I'm starting to get concerned about social media saturation and overwhelmed by the number of services I'm sure there are others too.

I'd be interested in learning how people are using these various services and for what reasons and how effective they are in helping them be successful. Seems to me that this is a book in the making? Use my new comment feature below (allows for direct reply to a comment) or visit my FriendFeed room on this topic.