Dec 3, 2009

Hardest hockey shot ever!

One of the top funniest video commercials I've seen in a while. 796,000 views and counting. Who said all advertising sucks! Enjoy!

Robert Lee now selling mobile homes?

This was the top viral video for November 2009. Another in my growing list of funny videos. Enjoy! Over 951,000 views and counting!

Nov 9, 2009

Spontanious conversation using Scribble Live

Had an interesting spontaneous discussion with a few folks tonight using Scribble Live a live blogging service recently featured on Dragons Den where they raised $250K in VC funding.

It started with @tamera asking when would we get past social media 101. I don't want to put words in her mouth but essentially her point was that the chatter on twitter is being rehashed and there is no fresh thinking and tweets coming across her tweetstreams.

So, with that challenge in mind we headed over to ScribbleLive to discuss this further and below is the transcript of what was covered. We had a few others join us and the conversation was interesting. I don't think it lasted an hour and the the conversation started at 8:30 not 9:30pm.

Nevertheless, this was interesting to me on two levels. First, I engaged with four people I'd never met before. Cool! Second, we used a tool to have water cooler discussion on a topic of mutual interest.
  • 9:28 PM: b2bspecialist This is a realtime twitter stream meant to engage folks in realtime.
  • 9:29 PM: tamera Interesting - I like this concept... and I like that it's easily archived.
  • 9:29 PM: b2bspecialist Social Media 101 is dominating the twitter streams and there is rehashing of stuff
  • 9:29 PM: b2bspecialist A canadian company developed this and just got $250K
  • 9:30 PM: b2bspecialist Twubs is an application that's interesting as well
  • 9:30 PM: tamera Exactly, there is nothing wrong with education, in fact it's crucial, but to evolve the space we, who have been around and involved through trial and error need to move the convo forward.
  • 9:31 PM: tamera So, when talking about pitching journalists for e.g. should we be saying "read what they write" or should we be talking about why storytelling matters?
  • 9:32 PM: b2bspecialist agreed, i think some of us are scratching our heads. The business case for social media could be at risk if we don't start sharing real world examples of success, frameworks to use. Will answer your post next.
  • 9:33 PM: b2bspecialist I think ppl will have more choices where they can consume information. What's changed is the ability to have a conversation with someone you would never have met before. Like you!
  • 9:33 PM: tamera Bingo. I wonder if it has to do with being hesitant to share our failures and our successes with a large audience so we resort to the same old same old.
  • 9:33 PM: tamera :) absolutely!
  • 9:35 PM: tamera So for example, in terms of failure, if you are a brand in a small market, like Canada, and you don't get the kind of coverage you want in mainstream media or via a FB page, how do you then know what to do to evolve? It cld be you should rethink what your story/ value is, or perhaps your approach.
  • 9:35 PM: b2bspecialist I think sharing failure and success has to be shared. Ppl will make their own conclusions. There are more questions then answers regarding social media and expressing our selves in this medium.
  • 9:36 PM: b2bspecialist You ask ppl.
  • 9:37 PM: b2bspecialist There is always someone that is willing to help in my experience.
  • 9:37 PM: tamera Yes, and typically ppl seem to be more willing (myself included) to jump on the negative when someone does something we perceive to be wrong vs. "sharing our trade secrets", whatever that means in this space.
  • 9:38 PM: tamera @b2bspecialist I think that's true, but I also think you have to be aware of what the person brings to the table. Some advice may not make sense in your context.
  • 9:38 PM: b2bspecialist That's a really tough one. Honestly I think it boils down to your personal values. I for example will share what I know and expect nothing in return. But, I'm not living in a multi-millaion dollar!!
  • 9:39 PM: tamera @b2bspecialist Agreed. I know Miss Rouge has talked about that as well in terms of how much time/ energy you can spend helping and end up getting burned. It's happened to me, but I'll keep doing it.
  • 9:40 PM: b2bspecialist This is an example of how we are learning a new tool together to have a conversation. We may learn from it and from each other. But, not sure.
  • 9:40 PM: mcorsano hey there
  • 9:40 PM: b2bspecialist Well we have a third watcher.
  • 9:41 PM: tamera I think it's a good start. I don't expect to change the world tonight ;-)
  • 9:41 PM: b2bspecialist Hey @mcorsano
  • 9:41 PM: tamera Hey there :)
  • 9:41 PM: mcorsano another peep! am catching up on the threads
  • 9:41 PM: b2bspecialist Coolio
  • 9:43 PM: b2bspecialist I sent out a tweet asking if ppl would like to develope a social marketing framework and pricing model with me. A collaborative if you will.
  • 9:43 PM: tamera I'm going to have to pop out for a bit, have dinner cooking, but I'll check back in and perhaps we can try and keep this going over time.
  • 9:43 PM: b2bspecialist Ok, great to chat in greater depth.
  • 9:44 PM: mcorsano have a good one :)
  • 9:44 PM: b2bspecialist @mcorsano do you want to continue with this thread? No worries if you don't.
  • 9:44 PM: tamera @b2bspecialist absolutely, I like this, kinda mailing list meets real-time w/o the character limit.
  • 9:45 PM: mcorsano well am not sure what the topic/theme is other than B2B?
  • 9:45 PM: b2bspecialist lol
  • 9:46 PM: mcorsano Now I see you are a B2B marketing agency head? interesting all my experience is B2B
  • 9:47 PM: b2bspecialist Well, the conversation was started by @tamera in twitter. She was saying that the tweets were rehashed tweets from us folks who have been "around" the twitter world. Long in tooth so to speak. She was wondering what's next or will it be the same old, same old. And yes, B2B too! Coolio.
  • 9:47 PM: mcorsano oh yes I saw her tweets on that
  • 9:47 PM: mcorsano good first trial on Scribble live for I hopped in here
  • 9:48 PM: b2bspecialist Ok, want to chat about Scribble instead? Ways to use it for b2b companies maybe?
  • 9:50 PM: mcorsano yes, sure would be good
  • 9:50 PM: mcorsano can you put it behind a firewall for internal collaboration?
  • 9:51 PM: b2bspecialist I would imagine so. Yammer is another option.
  • 9:51 PM: DoctorJones Hey folks. I like the use of ScribbleLive for something like this.
  • 9:52 PM: mcorsano Are similar functionality being built into Enterprise 2.0 platforms, say like Microsoft Unified Communications Server?
  • 9:52 PM: b2bspecialist Hey Doc, glad to have you in this.
  • 9:52 PM: b2bspecialist Beyond 101 is very interesting. What would 102 be is the question?
  • 9:53 PM: DoctorJones @mcorsano @b2bspecialist We're big yammer users at our agency. Has really opened up international sharing.
  • 9:54 PM: mcorsano 102 may include the application for intended purpose - case studies, user experiences....
  • 9:54 PM: mcorsano 102 may include the integration -- break down the silos
  • 9:54 PM: DoctorJones @mcorsano There is some neat capabilities in Microsoft OCS. IM,  video conferencing. It's pretty cool.
  • 9:55 PM: mcorsano Molson uses Yammer as well I understand
  • 9:55 PM: b2bspecialist @doctorjones seems to have a good case study to share via Yammer. But yes, real world use cases are great examples. Forrester has some on their site and Josh Bernoff covers some in Groundswell.
  • 9:56 PM: mcorsano I think these siloed one-off Web 2.0 platforms will not be useful on their own
  • 9:56 PM: b2bspecialist I've seen Msft OCS and I agree it is amazing. What's funny is IM has been covertly in place in companies for years.
  • 9:57 PM: mcorsano 102 may be bridging them or mashing them up 
  • 9:57 PM: b2bspecialist Cisco Community Central is an interesting use case as well.
  • 9:58 PM: mcorsano I sold Lotus Notes in 1993 and the collaboration stuff peeps had little idea how to apply
  • 9:59 PM: mcorsano But they caught on pretty fast -- it was advantage to have the function bundled with other utilities such as Email and document management, version control...
  • 9:59 PM: b2bspecialist The technology is one thing but it's about the willingness to communicate. I find as I encounter older folks (not all, I'm older!) they are reluctant to share and/or are afraid of the technology.
  • 10:00 PM: mcorsano Yes you right -- it is cultural
  • 10:01 PM: b2bspecialist What's difficult, for some, is justifying the time investment since the condition is don't expect something in return. Quite honestly if I were to sell a social marketing program to a CEO she would ask what's the ROI. This is a fair question to ask.
  • 10:01 PM: mcorsano I started my career at IBM mid-'80s and had to use Host based Email as part of the job ; was fortunate to grow up professionally with it - many do not have same exposure so it is a major paradigm shift
  • 10:02 PM: b2bspecialist But, if you look at what @DoctorJones said they use Yammer and it has opened up international sharing....
  • 10:02 PM: ShaneMS following along while making dinner and baby wrangling. re: yammer. it's a good idea... but in my experience, more of an echo sphere with about 1/2 the company using (50) and 3-6 people actually posting. however, I know people (that never yammer) do follow and have found value in what's shared.
  • 10:02 PM: mcorsano Fact is you are a pioneer; your clients likely are not.
  • 10:03 PM: b2bspecialist Hey ShaneMS.c Just a matter of time, I hope, before the young ones get into the enterprise and demand interaction through things like Yammer. Problem right now is the reluctance of some folks to even consider an alternative way to communicate and connect.
  • 10:03 PM: mcorsano Clients have some serious degrees of pressure to figure this all out
  • 10:04 PM: b2bspecialist I keep getting back to @tamera's succinct observation about Social Media 101. Can't we get past it?
  • 10:06 PM: mcorsano Most are catching up, perhaps a factor?
  • 10:06 PM: b2bspecialist Conversation is winding down!
  • 10:06 PM: mcorsano But I agree...observed as much at Mesh09 found that surprising
  • 10:07 PM: b2bspecialist Possibly or moved on! =) I've got a short attention I wouldn't blame others.
  • 10:07 PM: b2bspecialist Although we're up to five watchers.
  • 10:08 PM: b2bspecialist Hey Tamera, that dinner starting to smell pretty good!
  • 10:09 PM: mcorsano I'm going to exit at this time; appreciate the test run here
  • 10:10 PM: mcorsano Q: how is this different than live chat with the feed to Twitter?
  • 10:10 PM: b2bspecialist @ShaneMS made an interesting comment re: adoption/use of Yammer. Forrester has a profile that's interesting:
  • 10:11 PM: b2bspecialist A: you'd need to use a hashtag wouldn't you?
  • 10:12 PM: b2bspecialist A: you can set it up so comments are moderated as well.
  • 10:12 PM: b2bspecialist K gang, I'm going to shut this down.
  • 10:23 PM: b2bspecialist I've reopened this live blog to experiment with Scribble a bit more.

Nov 1, 2009

Should I use Slideshare or Brainshark for online presentations?

John Moore is experimenting with Slideshare and Brainshark and looking for feedback on which service delivers more value from an end user and presenter perspective.

This post is my initial review of the two services. It features this post and a Google Document that is shared below. Feel free to add your comments below and modify the google document with new insights, edits and other stuff that can help us all evaluate these two services.

Below are the options available to anyone wishing to embed a presentation on a blog, wiki etc.

Slideshare (embed options)

Option 1: "Embed"

Option 2: "Embed Without related presentations"

Brainshark (embed options)

Option 1: Size: 528x439

Option 2: Size: 440x366

Option 3: Size: 422x351

Comparison Chart
Below is a screenshot of a publicly available and editable google document that you can access here.

The verdict? I'd give Slideshare the nod but I'm sure there are lots of really great people at Brainshark who are busy building a great service.

Feel free to leave your comments below regarding your experiences with either of these services, share links to example presentations (they can be yours too, just make sure it has something to do with this post). You can also contribute to the google document here.

Oct 29, 2009

Change can be fun!

According to Visible Measures this is #2 on the viral ad charts (Oct 22/09)


Oct 20, 2009

Robert Scoble video chat/demo of Twitter Lists

Great overview of Twitter Lists by Robert Scoble. It's a two parter.

A couple of take-a-ways:
  • The lists you are on will matter more then how many followers you have. Well, I'm on one so far and I created it! Put me on your list! (please)
  • Lists can save you time because they aggregate twitter accounts based on common interest, topics etc.

Oct 18, 2009

The Business Meeting

Newest installment in my series of fun and funny advertisements.

Sep 23, 2009

Mobile Twitter Apps List

I'm starting a list twitter applications that can be used on the Blackberry and iPhone (will add others end user devices). So, this is a "Post in progress".

The goal is to provide you a list of apps that includes:
  • Pros/cons (mine and others) of each looking through the lens of marketing and business development professional and other business users
  • Links to video demonstrations so you can see how it works
  • Where applicable I'll have a link to the person who tells me about the app. (Note: it will be a link to their Twitter profile).
Over time, I hope, this post will evolve. For this post to be useful to you I need know about apps you are using along with your pros, cons and ratings.


TweetDeck is a popular desktop that is also available for Apple's iPhone.

Free app (Desktop & iPhone), same interface for client and iPhone, you can manage multiple accounts, good demo walkthrough. Part of my core app package I use.

Real time updates make me lose my place when reading tweets. Needs a pause button. They have not responded to tweets I sent regarding improvements/feedback.

4 out of 5


Viigo is a broader Application Suite for various push based services you may want on your BlackBerry. Thanks to Alain Theriault for sending me a tweet about Viigo. Here's a video demo.

If you use Viigo please leave a comment re: pros, cons and rating. Thx.

UberTwitter is an app that Haig Sakouyan referred me to. Here's a video review.

If you use UberTwitter feel free to leave a comment re: pros, cons and rating. Thx.

Sep 19, 2009

Hasn’t it always been about Trust?

The BusinessWeek article "The Great Trust Offensive" is worth a read. We consumers are skeptical of advertising, jaded by bailouts, huge executive bonuses..and let's not get into the rash of bad customer service experiences. This video (go to link above) summarizes the article....and there is hope!! =)

There are many examples of trusted companies. Companies that have figured out how to focus more on people and less on profit. Companies that are strong, sustainable and financially successful. Companies that view their people as the key ingredient to their success..not a "cost center" or a "human resource". Companies like John Deere and Chapmans Ice Cream come to mind.

In the B2B world, trust and credibility matter today more then ever. Why? Because trust is what makes or breaks a relationship and builds a solid reputation.

A value proposition means nothing if we can't deliver on it. And, today, even if we do deliver on it we must be able to prove that we did! Ideally through word of mouth. This is where I think social media and networking can play a role. (Future post planned on this!)

Lets not jump on the "trust" bandwagon and start peppering our copy and conversations with hollow promises and taglines like "trusted advisor" or "you can trust us". A great book that has really opened my eyes about earning trust is Chris Brogan and Julien Smith's book Trust Agents. I highly recommend it.

Linkroll (other links of interest):
Building your b2b brand
Importance of strategic references
Trust in the Online Retail World

If you'd like me to link to an article of interest let me know and I'll add it to this link roll.

Sep 11, 2009

IBM and Green I.T.

Another installment in my fun and funny advertisements. Here are the things that I like about this ad.

  • Realism - businesses want to go green but they also are pragmatic and need to cut costs. They need a business case. This ad, uses humour to get that point across.

  • Youth and Experience - it shows a young business analyst presenting the business case to the wiser exec. New thinking introducing new ideas to practical (yet open to learn) and experienced thinking.

  • Humour - if someone is going to interrupt me with an ad...making it funny makes it worthwhile to me.

  • YouTube - this ad is available through YouTube. This allows me and others to virally spread and share this content freely. This is a smart move by IBM.

Sep 7, 2009

How long should a blog post be?

This post is dedicated to those that blog and those thinking about blogging.

How long should a blog post be?
This is a question that may be on your mind. It's been on mine recently. I've conducted some research and there are varying opinions. Some folks say posts should average 500 words . But, there are some other folks who think otherwise too.

Jon Morrow from Copyblogger talks about tight writing and how some of their most popular posts are longer then 1000 words. Douglas Karr has an interesting article with some analysis on this topic as well.

I think varying opinions is a good thing. Why? Well, there should be no magic bullet when it comes to "average" blog post length. In fact, blogs in general should be unique and reflect the personal preferences of the blogger as well as their current and prospective audience.

But wait a minute, is there more to this question?

This one question leads to a whack load of others! Including:

  • If I was just starting out blogging where would I start? Where could I learn about how to blog?
  • If I want to get better at blogging where should I go?

  • What innovative things are people doing with their blogs?

  • Is brevity important when it comes to blog posts like it is with Twitter?

  • How long should it take to write a blog post?

  • Should you balance blog posts based on length to accommodate those that like to read short bursts of content and longer essay types of posts?

  • What happens if you're not that great a writer, but want to blog? Should your posts be shorter to start? You may have interesting things to say while getting your blogging chops figured out, so why not start writing?

  • Is it arrogant for a blogger to think that his/her posts length don't matter?

  • There are "A" lister bloggers who have a devoted group of followers already but what about those just starting out?

Time to explore this in more depth through conversation and a blog post series.

The blog post length question for me leads to a broader conversation about a blogging publishing framework, examples, best practices etc . Things like (to name a few):

  • Blog posts - how often, length and types of posts.

  • Writing styles - first person, third person, serious, fun, corporate, personal.

  • Categories and tags - how to define, use, manage and classify posts.

  • Blog types - single author, multi-author.

Long live and love the blog.

The blog, in my own personal opinion, is one of the most promising channels to express yourself, educate, inform, engage and create conversation. Whether you're a company, an artist, a hobbyist or just someone who has something to say…you now have an outlet!

I think we are just scratching the surface when it comes to blogging. There are so many things we can and are doing with blogs, it makes sense to share how we are using blogs to benefit our readers and ourselves.

So, with that in mind, I'm creating a feature series of posts that explores blogging both personally and professionally. I'm going to share things like:

  • What I'm learning about blogging through my own experiences and whatever else turns up in my travels.

  • Interviews with bloggers asking why and how they blog.

I'm not sure what to name the series but I'd like to think that it becomes an ongoing and updating "how to" of blogging with real world examples. As the number of posts accumulate it may end up being a nice resource for you to refer to over time. (That's the beauty of tagging!).

Got questions, got answers, got ideas?
Leave a comment below with your question, your thoughts and ideas and links to sites and posts that you think will help us all learn more about blogging.

By the way, this post is 654 words in length and took an hour and forty seven minutes to draft, edit, cross link and publish.

Aug 22, 2009

A way to make twitter better

In an earlier post entitled: "To Follow or not to follow, that is the question", I describe how I decide when to follow someone on Twitter who has followed me. Follower updates are sent to me via email. I review each followers Twitter profile to decide if I want to follow back or not.

Over the past two days I've had quite a few people follow me. So, I headed over to learn a bit about who had followed me and I was very surprised at the number followers whose accounts had been suspended due to "suspicious activity".

I'm grateful that Twitter and the Twitter community police jerks and spammer accounts and that these accounts get shut down. Twitter must make sure that these types of people don't ruin the Twitter experience.

I do have a suggestion as to how Twitter can improve. It would be better if Twitter sent me a follower notification once the account as been deemed authentic. Instead of sending a notice immediately they should wait until the account is verified as real.

Aug 9, 2009

New book on Professional Services Marketing

I was asked to review Mike Schultz's book "Professional Services Marketing".

There have been numerous reviews already about this book so I'm not going to summarize what the book is about. Instead I'm going to make one recommendation: buy it!

This book is a manual on how to market your professional services organization. It's not a book you read on vacation and then add to your library collection. It's a book you use to market and sell your services.

Some reasons why I believe this book is worth your investment in time and money:

  • Mike's firm, the Wellesley Hills Group, through years of practice and results has applied the concepts and tactics outlined in the book. This is not a book based on theory it is based on experience and results.
  • There are few books out there that focus on the unique realities of B2B marketing and business development. This is the most current and it uses real world research from the field.
  • The book focuses on the things that matter to the business owner. Increasing revenue and profit.
  • It provides you with tools you can use in your business in the area of revenue projection and results measurement.
  • And finally, at MI6 (my agency) we are implementing tactics from this book for our clients. The result? A listening tour that helped a client properly define their value proposition, generate additional sales & a whack load of testimonials.

Here are some reviews that may be of interest:

Ian Brodie, who helps professional service firms grow, has a good balanced review. I agree with his assessment of the sales portion of the book.

Chris Brown, a Strategic marketing consultant, reviews it from a business owner's perspective.

Ardath Albee, from Marketing Interactions, provides a detailed overview of what's in the book and what bonus' you get if you buy it.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Jul 18, 2009

ProductCamp Toronto returns

ProductCamp Toronto2 (PCT2) will be held at the Ted Rogers School of Managment at Ryerson University on October 4th, 2009. Special thanks to the Lea Sawal for from the IT Management Student Association for getting involved and becoming a key sponsor.

Last Year's Event

ProductCamp Toronto1 was a blast and I'm very proud to be one of the driving forces behind bringing this unconference to Canada. This year I'm a member of the organizing group again and we are looking for more people to be involved in the planning, promoting and production of this event.

What we need for 2009

We want more people to shape this event and add their creative talents, passion and energy. We're of the mind that this event needs to have a "mind of itself" so to speak. What the heck does that mean you ask? It's pretty simple, this event cannot rely on the same people every year make it happen. Instead, our vision, is for this event to take on a life of its own.

An ambitious but necessary goal

This event must become a fixture and have roots and become a must attend/participate event annually. This means that anyone interested in creating products and marketing them have invested interest in contributing to making this event a perpetual success!

So, let me cut to the chase! Are you interested in making this event a success for the long term? Are you willing to share your thoughts, time, energy and ideas and make this an awesome event for all of us who love to create products and market them? If so, join us! Send us an email at

Jun 10, 2009

Make It Seven Groundswell

It is pretty awesome how Jim Balsillie and his crew are creating a groundswell of support in their efforts to bring the Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey team to Hamilton. There are over 22,000 fans on their Facebook page, 3000+ folks following each breath on Twitter and I think over 150,000 folks who have registered on their site.

I wonder whether this support will have any impact on the judge who will be rendering a decision this week. I suspect it could. The legal team can point to the fact that there is pent up demand and support for another hockey team in Southern Ontario. The proof is the number of fans, followers and registrants! He can see the vigilant commitment of hockey fans, sponsors and Balsillie himself to the City of Hamilton. In fact, he can enjoy watching a music video too!

I'm sure social media is creating an impact on Balsillies' chances, err...our chances of having a team in Hamilton. By the way mark June 19th on your calendar because that's Make It Seven Day across Canada.

Jun 1, 2009

Are they serious?

Below is an embedded conversation from Friendfeed. I'm testing it out. The article is pretty provocative as well...I hope!

[Update: I don't really like the "You" title at the top. Also, to go to the source article you need to click on the picture]

May 30, 2009

Social Media success and B2B

I'm a perpetual learner, information "pack rack" and in constant pursuit of knowledge and becoming knowledgeable.

The challenge many companies face is not about creating knowledgeable people but institutionalizing knowledge such that more people can become knowledgeable. Also, what I find is missing, is a platform to collaborate that creates "collective knowledge". There are examples such as wikis and Google Wave looks promising. Google wave integrates conversations (email, tweets, IM) and other forms of expression in order to create a collective conversation which can develop into a concept, a research brief, a software spec etc.

In the video below Lee Bryant, from Headshift, talks about the challenges we experience in trying to create knowledge. The answer? Well we're figuring that out..but it's not email!

I believe that B2B companies in particular can use social media to do two things. First, find knowledgeable people and second, collaborate to create, index and institutionalize knowledge.

May 25, 2009

Why do you use Twitter?

Here's a twist. I'm using Friendfeed to find out why people use Twitter. I use these two social media tools and like many of you I'm figuring out how to get as much value from using them as possible.

Well, why not use social media tools to find out what value we are getting out of them? Below is a new feature I'm using from Friendfeed that allows you to embed a Friendfeed post in your blog.

May 22, 2009

Using Linkedin to listen and conduct research

Too Much Social Media?

In my journey to find things that matter when it comes to B2B marketing I find myself stretched thin when it comes to social media. I use Delicious, Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook (a little). I get overwhelmed by the amount of noise but enamored with the potential social media represents. A vicious cycle no doubt. Having said that I'm starting to realize what matters to me.

First, social media starts with People and making meaningful connections with them

I do get a kick out of using these tools and connecting with people. These people, by the way you're one of them, are opening my mind and helping me see how social media can be used for business reasons.

Second, social media leverages online groups

This is the most interesting part of social media to me. In an earlier post I talked about how SBBUZZ is using Twitter to group people together to chat about small business and technology.

Another way that social media is "grouping" people is through the conducting of polls. On May 1st, a Linkedin Poll asked the question: "What is the most important new platform for brands to master?" To date over 2300 people have responded and 73 comments have been posted.

This is powerful! In Chapter 5 of Groundswell the authors talk about how social media can displace market research companies. Here's an example where that is taking place!

In summary

For me, social media is about connecting with people, learning from each other & sharing. It also can group people with similar interests to converse (like SSBUZZ is doing), vote and debate.

May 6, 2009

To follow or not to follow? That is the question

As a B2B marketer I'm watching the Twitter phenomenon closely and with great interest. I'm not so sure people are interested in following brands. I may follow a brand if it offers me something of value in the way of advice, service and ideas. I won't follow it to become another "lead" on the web 2.0 version of an email blast list.

Twitter is kind of like the "Long Tail" for creating your social network of contacts. These are people who choose to follow you for various reasons and motives. Some are trying to build their lists and sell you on how to make $10,000 per month using Twitter. (I block these). However, many people are using Twitter to share content, ideas and connections. These people I tend to follow back.

Using Gmail to track followers

To make things easy, I have set up a filter rule in Gmail, that puts all my follower notices in one place (see screenshot on the left). I can see how many people have followed me based on date. It also confirms which Twitter Followers profiles I've check out and who I haven't. (read emails means I have, unread means I haven't).

I'm not actively building a Twitter list, it's organically growing and I don't automagically follow someone because they follow me. I do get to know them a bit though. I check their profile, their tweets and their blog or site. If within 30 seconds or so, I see something that tweeks my interest I'll follow.

You'd be surprised at who is following you. It could be your next customer, your current customer or a prospective partner!

May 5, 2009

Pepsi Max: I'm Good Campaign

Really funny ad for Pepsi Max which is the competitive alternative to Coke Zero. These are diet sodas with more caffeine. Both were launched in 2006 it appears.

I wonder how successful these brands are. The tie in to the "I'm Good" meme is smart but, in my opinion, they should work this angle more.

Produce more ads around the "I'm Good" meme and make us laughter. Maybe, over time, people that drink Pepsi Max will remember how the ads made them laugh and they will equate that emotion to the brand.

May 2, 2009

Twitter for Businesses?

Time to bash the Twitter skeptics who claim that Twitter is a fad and not professional enough for businesses. Twitter is a tool, it's not a fad nor is it a "solution". How people leverage this tool to achieve something is what matters.

One of the biggest problems today is not lack of information it is lack of good answers. Google search is great and it plays an important role in helping you find answers. But, there can be many "false positives" or dead ends. Good search results still require you to dig deeper. Plus what happens if only part of your query (question) is answered?

Twitter can be used as a realtime question/answer tool. Here are two real world examples of how small business is using twitter to network, share, learn and get answers.

Example 1: iPhone Battery life
Yesterday I noticed that my iPhone battery was draining too fast. I sent out a tweet asking for advice and within 5 minutes I had a quality, authentic response from Ryan Barnett who said:
@b2bspecialist: Turn off screen as fast as possible, turn off 3G, turn off networking, buy a Power Slider from Incase:
Example 2: Tweetchats

SBBUZZ is an interesting case study on how small businesses strapped for cash and time, can cost effectively ask questions about technology for small businesses.

Founded by small business entrepreneurs, this is an example of how small businesses can tap into talent, skills and broaden their social network reach and get answers.

How SBBBUZ works: It's pretty simple (go to their site for instructions). Every Tuesday night from 8-10 pm ET, you can join in with others who are looking for answers regarding small business and technology. This is a real-time Q&A session. It takes place in the evening, which is a good time for small business owners since their days are busy and hectic.

But, it gets better! While the realtime nature of this is great, the session is permanently archived on their site. And, since the session took place on Twitter it is permanently indexed.

This is a great example of innovative thinking. Twitter is being used to help people and organizations succeed. That's not a fad. It is a solution. You can follow them on Twitter.

So is twitter a fad and not professional enough for business? Maybe that's what they said about email when it first came out.

Apr 21, 2009

Selling in a Recession

A fantastic training resource for all of us is Selling Power's site. They have daily short videos that you can watch to get tips.

I came across this video today about selling during a recession. The key take aways are:

  • First, buyers don't purchase based on price. This is never the number one reason why people buy even in a recession. Instead, you need to show and prove that buying from your company is extremely low on the risk scale.
  • Second, you cannot come across as afraid that your job is at risk and that you are desperate to make a sale.
So, here's the way I'd approach this.
  • First, you need to instill confidence in your customers and prospects. You need to establish key pillars that you can use to show that your company will weather this storm. It could be that you've weathered two recessions. It could be that you have a diverse customer base etc.
  • Second, ownership/Mgt must instill confidence in their employees. You must show them that you have their backs and that their jobs are not a risk. A wounded animal gets eaten.
  • Third, you must be confident and believe that this recession is an opportunity for you and your clients. Work hard, show them value and that you are the guy/gal that will help them get through this tough time. Drive to survive, drive to thrive.

Watch the video, it's well worth the 4:30 minutes.

Thanks to Trish Bertuzzi, from the Bridge Group for sharing this video.

Apr 13, 2009

Groundswell Blook Report:Chapter Nine – Embracing the Groundswell

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part two (chapters 4-9) focus on tapping the groundswell. The authors provide advice and a strategic framework on how to do this.

Chapter 9: Embracing the groundswell

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

Feature Video: Procter & Gamble VP Patrick Arlequeeuw talking about using innovation and embracing crowds to create the next $23B brand

This video is from September 2007 and it’s called “Blogging for Business”. This is a very interesting case study on how P&G is transforming itself from being a slow gigantic corporation to an innovative, responsive and collaborative organization.

What I learned:

1) If you reach a level where you can embrace your customers do it! You have willing participants who want to help you shape your company and your products and services.

2) Culture kills Groundswell initiatives and it will kill innovation. If you don’t encourage open communication, sharing and taking risk by putting your ideas “out there” then embracing is not for you.

3) That companies must have succession mechanisms in place in order to ensure their Groundswell program is sustainable. Your management team must be a “groundswell team” and champion all efforts. Don’t leave it to one person to champion. I’m starting to see that some of the companies case studied in the book haven’t continued with their Groundswell initiatives. Loblaws, Credit Mutael and Snausages are three examples in particular. This appears to be because the key Groundswell leader left.

4) Embrace people within your company as well as from the outside.

5) You will start to see interesting ideas evolve and natural cross collaboration begin to take place. People will start to connect the dots with ideas and thoughts that you’d never dreamed of seeing. This is where innovation really starts to come to life.

6) Make sure your online groundswell activities are tied to in real life ones. Case in point. I can rank Presidents Choice products online but when I go to their stores I don’t see any signage identifying their products as “Consumers Top Choice”. What I see instead is “Even Lower Prices”. What exactly is Loblaw positioning their Presidents Choice Product Line as?

Mar 29, 2009

Building the Next Generation Company: Innovation, Talent, Excellence

This presentation by John Chambers at MIT took place on October 15th, 2008. Cisco continues to be a very interesting company to watch and learn from.
You’ll need some popcorn when you watch this video but key areas that I found amazing include:
  • Cisco is evolving into a collaborative enterprise utilizing web 2.0 and social networking which allows them to scale, increase productivity and speed to market
  • They focus on market transitions and listen to customers more then what the competition is doing.
  • Typically they have a 3 to 5 year vision of where they are going, and a 2 to 4 sustainable differentiation advantage with a 12-18 month execution timeframe
  • They apply “architecture” thinking to every market transition and opportunity they choose to go after. This opens their minds to new ways to tie things together to solve key industry problems
There’s a lot to this video, but I’ll stop here. I’ve put a timeshift timeline for those that may want to fast forward to sections of interest. This video has been shared from MIT's site.

This presentation would be a great supplement to any business course in the accredited online schools. There are additional resources that may be useful.

2:25 Recession now but plan for the recovery
6:48 The future of countries, companies and jobs
9:00 What Cisco does well
10:45 Next Market Transition – Collaboration
13:41 Phase II of the Internet
15:30 Why invest in Information Technology today?
17:30 Cisco changes organizational structure, culture and hierarchy
21:00 Cisco’s transition to a collaborate enterprise
22:00 Focus on architecture when addressing market transition; importance of cross functional collaboration
25:00 I-Prize competition (shameless self promotion: my team was one of the 12 finalists, here’s an overview of what the experience was like for me)
27:30 New public/private partnerships will become more prevalent and important
30:00 Web 2.0 is taking off at Cisco
33:30 Collaboration, Cisco’s definition
34:12 Future Growth…framework for tracking Cisco’s priorities
34:30 Increasing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility
35:18 The new definition of capitalism
36:30 Cisco’s experience working with China
41:00 Closing remarks and Q&A

Mar 23, 2009

Integration B2B marketing into your business

UPDATE: My B2B Marketing Integration Framework evolves. For an updated version please check out this post. Thx.

What I find is that many companies rush to market with new solutions, services, partners and divisions without spending the necessary time and resources to put their best foot forwards. Here is a phased approach model that may help you keep on course.

The end goal is to institutionalize b2b marketing into your organization. This can be a big challenge depending on company size, patience, culture etc.


If your company has been adding partners on a whim, or adding solutions to a bloated offering watch out! In markets where you are selling complex solutions going to market “half cocked” is a big mistake. You’ll probably go nowhere. Why? Ask your sales rep! Ask your systems engineer! Both of them will tell you that they will not put their relationship and reputation on the line by introducing a new solution offering to an account if they don’t have the confidence in selling it and supporting it.

If you don’t believe your rep or engineer ask your customer! B2B buyers weigh their purchase decisions on three core things: 1) Risk, 2) Knowledge/Good information and 3) Value add. A company flying by the seat of its pants is high risk, ignorant and can’t articulate a defendable value proposition.

The solutions and services being offered must be backed by all stakeholders and a collective effort and commitment must be made by everyone to bring these solutions to market over a sustained period of time. You must have the fortitude to develop domain expertise, competency and capacity to market, sell, implement and support the solutions being brought to market. You need to ensure you have in place programs that communicate, educate and promote these solutions and customer success stories.

A thoughtful approach is to take some time and work your way through a phased process like the one above. You can apply this approach to new services, solutions and practice areas you plan to bring to market.

Assessment – this is where you assess the business, the market, the competition and your customers to determine whether there is a market opportunity (by the way, this is ongoing!). It also establishes a baseline and gap analysis (where you are and where you need to be). This stage is the hardest and most time consuming. It involves extensive listening and collaboration with key people in your company, partners, with customers and prospects. It will create friction, uncover old wounds but it is absolutely necessary in order to bring teams together to bring something meaningful to market. It is the beginning part of forming a collaborative within your business.

Plan – The plan is your playbook of what you are going to do and how much it will cost.

Execute/Manage – Here’s where strategy and tactics meet and you are executing the key tactics identified in the plan. You are monitoring your results, using feedback loops to gather information and tweaking your efforts along the way.

Optimize/Automate – This phase is all about improvement and automating as much as possible (without de-personalizing relationships with customers though). Knowledge needs to be institutionalized and a marketing system starts to take hold in the organization.

It can take 12 to 18 months for your company to become a Phase 4 organization. Using a methodology combined with the two previous planks can help you get there.

Mar 17, 2009

Crowdsourced Ad

This 2007 Super Bowl video is mentioned in Groundswell. Doritos had a contest where the public could submit their ads in a contest. The winner would have their ad aired during the Super Bowl.

Mar 14, 2009

The silver lining for business?

Below is a presentation by Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab, entitled Constructive Capitalism. He blogs for Harvard Business Publishing. Umair was a guest speaker at the Daytona sessions. Daytona is a marketing agency in Sweden. The fact that Daytona has a “Ted” like conference is simply amazing.

The video below is about 70 minutes long. It is well worth the time to listen and learn about Umair’s beliefs about where companies need to go in order to grow. He uses examples to set context. This helps you see how his theories are “in play” today.

Below the video is a timeshift timeline and links to the reference examples he uses in his presentation. I’ve invited Umair to add any comments or thoughts to this post. But, more importantly, is getting you to provide your thoughts and comments to create a conversation around this really interesting take Umair has on “Constructive Capitalism” and the next revolution which he calls “Institutional Revolution”.

UPDATE: For some reason an embedded Vimeo video doesn't show the slider. Just open a second browser if you want to use the timeshift timeline below.

1:47 What’s wrong with the economy? “Qualitative Difference”. “A shock”
3:15 We are at a crises crossroads with respect to strategy, how institutions interact and exist (the places we work that organize people, processes and deliver value)
10:00 New rules for Institutions and Capitalism are driven by Ideals
11:15 Ideal #1: Exploitation to Renewal

15:15 Ideal #2: Command to Democracy

21:25 Ideal #3 War to Peace

  • Crisis of Conflict
  • Case studies on Guiding Principles: Google and Barack Obama’s 3 guiding principles for the Election
  • Take-away: “Connections, not Transactions”

29:20 Ideal #4: Domination to Equity

38:40 Ideal #5: Value to Meaning

44:30 Where to start and where to head?

50:42 Question and Answer

  • What cultures/countries equipped to handle this change?
  • Won’t Tata become like GM, Ford and Chrysler eventually?
  • Does GDP matter when new models and markets like this emerge?
  • Is sustainable growth a realistic outcome? How is it different then today’s growth aspirations? What does growth mean?
  • Is it possible for large corporations to revolutionize themselves?
  • Will these new institutions produce products and services that are are tools and utilities to deliver on these ideals?
  • Can this “institutional revolution” take hold realistically? Will old ways and thinking be too big a barrier for this to take root?
  • How will protectionism and de-globalization affect your theories and beliefs on Constructive Capitalism

Mar 12, 2009

Has anything changed? Does this sound familiar?

My blog focuses on things that matter from a marketing and social media perspective. After watching this video I wonder to myself how can/are companies addressing the concerns that 12 year old Severn Cullis-Suzuki talks about in this video. A video that is 16 years old! Listen to what she is saying and ask yourself what has changed since then. Here’s what she’s up to today. 

Severn: How can we help you? You are a hero.

Groundswell Blook Report:Chapter Eight – Helping the groundswell support itself

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part two (chapters 4-9) focus on tapping the groundswell. The authors provide advice and a strategic framework on how to do this.

Chapter 8: Helping the groundswell support itself

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

Feature Video: Dell: Answering Questions with Support Forums, Josh Bernoff

How one “critic” (using the Social Technographics Ladder) saved Dell $1M in support costs.

Feature Presentation: Augmenting your Technical Documentation with User-Generated Content, The Content Wrangler

Slides 18-21: Lesson 1-There’s no one best way to organization information
Slides 22-25: Lesson 2-Users don’t care where they get help from
Slides 26-27: Lesson 3-Users are not a homogeneous group of clones
Slides 28-33: Lesson 4-Users are talking about you right now!
Slides 34-39: Lesson 5-Consumers love video and increasingly expect it
Slides 40-44: Required reading

What I learned:
People care, want to connect and help
For you hard nosed right brained people who think that “feelings” and “emotion” have nothing to do with business….think again! Hard nosed analytics and logic are still needed but the human side of business relationships are no different then personal ones. There are people who want to help solve problems because it makes them feel good. Emotions matter and creating a community that cares not only helps your customers it can impact your bottom line.

If your Social Technographic Profile over indexes in the area of joiners and critics and you have a complex product/solution then it is quite possible people are already helping each other out in forums, groups and on message boards. You should find this out and decide how you want to participate.

2) Your company needs to invest resources
First you need to determine whether people are supporting themselves through various social media tools and services. This takes patience, time and money. You need to dedicate a person or group of people to find this out.

Second, once you’ve decided how you want to help the groundswell you need to make sure the community grows and is active. It CANNOT be left alone to run on auto pilot. If someone asks a question they expect it to be answered. Figure out ways to make sure comments get answered within a reasonable timeframe.

Don’t think the technology and community will look after itself. If you want comments on each product page for example and you have 6000 products that means you could have 6000 different pages with questions on them. Think it through. Scale is not just about technology it's also about resources (people, time and money) and your ability to deliver.

3) Make it easy for top reviewers/answer providers to be found
These folks are amazing! Reward them by thanking them for their contributions. Get to know them as people and as potential employees. Make it so they can be found through search on your site.

4) It’s about solving problems, creating connections and institutional intelligence
Whether you use forums, wikis or reviews the purpose is to provide a mechanism that solves customer problems while reducing your support costs. In doing so you are creating direct connections with people who use your products and services.

People who will contribute answers and value add content which is now accessible to all people inside and outside of your organization. Tacit intelligence is what’s in our heads. The greatest fear companies have today is when their talent leaves so does the intelligence they’ve gathered that's in their heads.

Institutional intelligence is different. Forums, wikis and other tools generate intelligence which can be stored and searched. It becomes your company’s brain so to speak. Now when talent leave you have less to worry about.

Mar 9, 2009

Momentum and Insurance


The meaning of “Change”

Taking place in boardrooms across the globe! Lot’s of change?! =)

B2B Marketing Integration Framework – The B2B “Marketing Mix” or 4 R’s of Marketing

UPDATE: My B2B Marketing Integration Framework evolves. For an updated version please check out this post. Thx.

A key ingredient of the Marketing Integration (MI) Framework is principles or what I call the 4 Rs of B2B markeitng.

I’ve used this marketing mix to help me filter and set priorities when it comes to key marketing strategies and tactics. Each “R” aligns with the B2B marketing gears referred to above.

B2B Marketing MIx, 4Rs, March2009

Relevance – What you say and what you offer must be relevant to the markets you serve. The information you share about the problems you solve needs to be understandable and relative to the current and unrealized business needs of your customers

Relationships – Developing and maintaining strong and meaningful relationships with key stakeholders is more important then ever before. Be relevant, build your reputation and leverage relationships to separate yourself from the competition. Communicate with the idea of building these relationships and creating a community

Reputation - Your reputation and your B2B brand is built on the back of your successes and what others say about you through formal reference programs, word of mouth and word of mouse (search results and social networks/media)

Return – focus on producing a return for your stakeholders and your company. Seek ways where every stakeholder will generate measureable returns. A customer may need publicity while you and your partner may need a case study. Figure out how to create win, win, win scenarios

Let’s apply this to a real world example.

You’re trying to figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget. The recession is making you think hard about where, when and how to spend funds.

You’re looking at the tradeshow budget and deciding which event to cut. Try asking these questions (just follow the circle above starting with relevance and then go clockwise):

1) How relevant is this event to customers, partners, prospects and the markets you serve? Is it the most important show of the year to your customers? If so, who attends and why? Do you have anything to say at this event that is compelling? Something that that will position you as in tune with what’s going on in this market?

2) What relationships will this event help create and develop? Will it help a customer? Will it help a partner? Can you strengthen relationships with the media, analysts and thought leaders? Will it damage any relationships if you don’t attend? If so, why?

3) How will you use this event to improve or build upon your reputation? Can you showcase a solution you implemented for/with a customer? Ideally a solution that is relevant and is a catalyst to strengthen relationships important to you and your customer?

4) What returns do you expect from participating in the event? Hard returns such as sales opportunities, feature articles, key account meetings and net new account discoveries. What returns can you provide to your customer? To your partners?

There is an art and science to B2B marketing. I hope that this mix is something that is helpful to you and your company. As always feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Mar 6, 2009

How does a blog work?

I recently met with a technology sales rep who is interested in social media. She has visited my blog before and enjoyed some of my Funny video posts. In fact the Humour and Hope post had an impact on her son. He is a big Obama fan! I may write about the experiences people have with blogs later because it amazes me how a blog post can have a positive impact on someone.

As we talked about my blog I started throwing out words like tags and labels and she asked me “what are those?”. These three words are an important lesson for us folks who are drunk on the social media kool-aid. Many people, potentially your target audience/readership, are just starting to read blogs let alone understand how they work.

I’m very grateful that this sales rep helped me look through her eyes. So, I created a simple Blog Briefing for her and those folks just getting their feet wet. I hope it is useful.

Mar 4, 2009

B2B Marketing Integration Framework – The B2B Marketing Gears

UPDATE: My B2B Marketing Integration Framework evolves. For an updated version please check out this post. Thx.

In my last post, I introduced my Marketing Integration (MI) framework. This framework has six planks that work together in order to align strategy with actions that produce results.

This framework has been developed (it continues to evolve) to help solve key problems that exist in B2B markets where there are long sales cycles, complex solutions & sophisticated buyers.

First of all, sales and marketing is not a dirty word!

With the exception of monopolies, every organization markets and sells something. Most B2B oriented companies have marketing and sales professionals whose job it is to generate results. They have to contact prospective buyers to inform, educate (sometimes annoy!) and encourage them to buy something. Reps need to meet with IT buyers and marketers need to promote “the latest and greatest”. In fact, it is highly probable that the IT buyer has a sales and marketing organization promoting his/her company’s products and services.

But, hang on…there’s a reason why a buyer doesn’t return a call or click on that link!

Now hold on a minute. IT buyers are being inundated with “cold calls” and reps that provide no value (or at least that’s what some have told me over the past couple of months). Heck, those reps just want “the deal” and to play golf. Actually, I happen to know quite a few really good Account Managers (Kimberly, Colin, Sean, Mark, Alex, Anthony, Scott, David…come to mind).

IT buyers tell me that manufacturers and “solution providers” send them to their websites for information (assuming the links still work) but over half the time they don’t get the content they want and need. In fact, they may have a bad taste in their mouths already. As homer would say “DOH”!

There is good news though!

There are extremely good account managers and marketing professionals that do work together to provide value and produce results for their customers and their companies. I’ve been blessed to work with forward thinking reps, open minded executives and great partners like Cisco who support an integrated approach to marketing and sales.

These talented people and progressive organizations have helped me develop my Marketing Integration (MI) framework. This framework has 6 planks. The first being the “B2B Marketing Gears”.

Marketing Integration (MI) Framework – B2B Marketing Gears

GTM Gears

These three gears make up the go to market focus areas for a B2B marketing plan.

Branding and Positioning – If you don’t think branding matters, when it comes to B2B organizations, I suggest you read Philip Kotler’s book B2B Brand Management. Today, you must clearly communicate what you stand for, what you offer and why it’s of value to your customers. The branding and positioning gear covers three things:

  • Identity – brand architecture, guidelines and corporate identity
  • Offering – solution mix and the addressable market(s) it serves
  • Research – feedback and information on/from customers, partners and competitors

Communications and Community – Marketing communications is changing in two primary ways. First, the content we create must be of value to recipients, available in various formats (text, graphics, audio and video) and in sync with the buying cycle. Second, you must allow for interaction and community development. My blook report on Groundswell covers this in detail. Communications must be engaging, educational and interactive with social media playing an increasingly important role. The Communications and Community gear covers three things:

  • Content – create meaningful content that sales enables, informs, educates and builds your brand reputation
  • Presence – use of the web, social media and sales support tools to advance brand positioning and generate demand for information, events and opportunities (sales, publicity and partner attention)
  • Following – create a community of fans (customers, prospects, partners, media and analysts) through multi-channel communications and automation and in real life briefings

Business Development – Business development is all about generating results. This gear covers three things:

  • Demand generation – execution of campaigns and sales promotions that generate, develop and nurture leads and build relationships
  • Customer/Partner development & engagement – create meaningful results oriented relationships with customers and channel partners
  • Sales enablement & advancement – empower the sales organization with programs, coaching and tools that will help them be successful.

These three gears work together but the first gear, branding and positioning, is what gets everything started. I hope this first plank of my MI framework is of interest to you and may help you be successful. Feedback and comments are encouraged.

Next post: The B2B “Marketing Mix” or 4 R’s of Marketing