Friday, February 22, 2008

Marketing as a Conversation

Phew! Just got done this morning over coffee reading Joseph Jaffe's "Join the Conversation."

Jaffe is relentless (yay!) about the new marketing and how it is transforming marketing and brand management/building.

If I had been lucky enough to get to put a quote on the book jacket (maybe he can open that up to a wiki on his next book, why stop at the cover?) I would have *maybe* said this:

"This book (and the author) is so relentless and passionate about new marketing that it practically forces you to start a blog and a conversation with your customers before you even finish it."
Ok, seriously though, Jaffe lays out the case and makes it time and time again with examples, case studies and a workbook like approach that includes manifestos, checklists and planners.

As I was reading, I took a few notes knowing that I was going to blog about it when I finished. The problem is, my notes ended up being pages and pages long, almost every chapter had a nugget or thought I wanted to capture and remember.

That said, I will simply agree with Jaffe's "one thing to take from the book" which was that It's never too late to join the conversation.

Disclaimer: As part of the "marketing" for Join The Conversation (and in full disclosure), Jaffe is also running a program he calls, UNM2PNM (Use New Media To Prove New Media) where he gave away 150 copies of the book to bloggers (yes, that's me, and yes this is me blogging on my own free will about something I really enjoyed).

I'm now 3 for 3 on business books in 2008. Made to Stick, Meatball Sundae and Join the Conversation. It's like the new branding trilogy.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Made to Stick... sticky as glue

I read "Made to Stick" while in Seattle and San Diego last week and want to marry it. Really. I loved it that much. So much of what I have been unable to articulate myself is right there inside this amazing little book. Go get it right now and read it! Seriously.

The authors have outlined a practical and effective checklist that you can use immediately once you understand the principals that have been laid out.

Here's the SUCCESs framework... read the book and get it all...

  • Simple... find the core... the one true thing.
  • Unexpected... you need to surprise people to get their attention in the first place.
  • Concrete... drop the intellectual, academic stuff straight away and explain yourself... understanding drives action.
  • Credible... credibility (various forms) will let people believe.
  • Emotional... it's not enough to believe... people have to ALSO care about you.
  • Stories... getting people to act isn't about facts and figures, it's about great storytelling.
I can't speak highly enough of this book, it's simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and weaves great stories. Go for it.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Reading List

I'm finally off my self help kick (4-hour work week, The Power of Story, The Power of Now) and am back to the business books that I love.

Here's the list of what's on my nightstand... reviews/blog posts/notes coming as I finish:

Made to Stick
Join the Conversation - disclaimer: I got this book from the author/publisher
Meatball Sundae - Mr. Godin's latest


Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Carnival: The Best Development Resources

This week's Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants is: "The best professional development resources and strategy for nonprofit marketers. This includes professional development resources for nonprofit marketers, and my own strategy for sustaining your learning, inspiration and information sharing in the field. I'll leave the list linking and resourcing to folks who are much better at it than myself and address my own strategies.

This post will also attempt to answer the question that I get from time to time from friends and colleagues:

"When do you sleep?"

I do in fact get 7 hours of sleep every night (which if you are counting, means that I TIVO Lost and watch it the next night sans commercials like you are supposed to!!!). I've refined my strategy for learning, inspiration and information over the years quite a bit.

There are 3 main ways that I stay current and inspired.

1. Reading books. I pride myself on the fact that I'm a reader. You may have stumbled on my list of business and non-business books. I always have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that I queue up over time depending on what I want to learn, brush up on or explore. I mix up my reading as much as possible between pure biz/marketing books, biographies and sci-fi/fantasy stuff. My favorite way to find new books is by flipping through bibliographies of my favorite books or best of all - visiting author web sites or blogs and finding what they are reading. I've gotten a TON of great book ideas from Tom Peters and Seth Godin's blog. You can also stumble on some terrific books by reading blog comments or scanning amazon book reviews.

It's also worth noting that sometimes books will simply help you connect the dots on stuff that you have been thinking about. This happened as I was finishing up Obama's latest book, and especially as I was reading Man's Search for Meaning a few weeks ago. I still can't articulate it, but there is something VERY powerful about connecting disconnected things and coming up with unique ways to solve problems.

My MP3 player is also a massive resource. I download anywhere from 3-5 podcasts per week and listen to them during my commute. There is some great content out there including TED Talks and IT Conversations.

2. The blogosphere. I do read the Wall Street Journal every day, but the truth is that I get most of my best content from bloglines. I've added a TON of blogs and feeds that I scan a few times a day. I absorb new concepts best on paper. Reading on screen is fine, but I really love printing a few articles and stuffing them in my bag. I'll find them a few days later and read them on the train or in bed.

3. Talking to People. I call experts up all the time and introduce myself. Then I ask them good, solid questions about what they are doing about something I want to know about. I talked to 4 different mobile marketing consultants and service providers to educate myself. I talked to just about everyone who'd take a few minutes with me to discuss gaming and Second Life. The networking is actually incidental and not intentional (but a wonderful side benefit) - I'm mining for knowledge!

Once I've absorbed new concepts and ideas, I typically do one of two things.

If the concept or idea sounds like a no-brainer (mobile marketing did), I typically jump in immediately and start experimenting as fast as possible. This past week for example, I attended a great SEO seminar with SEOClass. During the seminar they talked a lot about social marketing. After learning that Netscape was quite Digg like, but more focused on Politics with a slightly older user base I knew I was going to try it. Within a few hours I had an account, had posted a story and was seeing how I could drive votes from myspace and facebook. I'm literally fearless when it comes to experimenting with these types of marketing ideas. I take the concept, prove it for myself and turn it in to a best practice. I'm in the midst of doing this with Squidoo as well. The act of doing completes the act of learning for me.

If the concept or idea is shaky or needs marinating, I'll let it sit or continue to read or look for examples. As I search, I'll use Delicious to tag "references" so I can go back later to review before making any moves. My tags become like a tickler file - never too far from me and festering just under the surface. I've noticed that if I leave stuff on the backburner, a random randomly connected thing will bring me back to the idea and it will either click on or off at that point. Or not, which is also good because it indicates that I've wasted enough time.

To summarize:

1 part love of learning.
Huge amounts of reading (and listening)
Willingness to try new things
Sheer curiosity

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Books You Should Read

With lots of new found reading time on Metro North, I've been catching up quickly on my reading materials...

Citizen Marketer is a quick, important read if you are like me, interested in how marketers are approaching user generated content. Lots has been written about this book, and although I've found lots more reading time, I haven't yet found more time to blog or do analysis on stuff. In any case, this is a very worthy read.

I also managed to finish The Blind Side, a stunningly good read about a mixture of unlikely topics: College football, Pro football, the educational system and how important family is. It's 4.5 stars on Amazon should tell you how good the book is - but don't take my word, go get it from your library and read it yourself.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Book Notes: Freakonomics

Yes! I finally got around to reading this highly recommended book this weekend. It lives up to the hype and if you haven't yet read it - go now!

Lots and Lots of people have tons to say about this book so I won't go into much detail at all.

In (short) summary here are the two pillars of the book in my mind, and how they play within the context of NPO's.

The first pillar is that "incentives are the cornerstone of modern life". Any self respecting fundraiser inherently knows this. Yes, be careful not to go overboard with incentives. Yes, make sure that your constituents have the option to donate the value of the incentives back to you... but make no mistake here... t-shirts, iPod and gas cards WILL help you raise more money. (Inside reference, ignore this: Right Hege?!)

The second pillar is about conventional wisdom and that it's often wrong. Let me count the ways that this affects NPO marketing... in fact, I thought it would be fun to list some NPO marketing conventional wisdomisms...
  • We shouldn't cross market
  • We can't ask patients for money
  • Our donors are too old, they don't want to donate online
  • We can't let people use our logo online without a legal contract (I'm snickering as I think about how efficient it is to "print screen and paste things)
  • We must control all brand messages
I know there are MANY, MANY MORE... leave some comments or post your own NPO marketing conventional thinking.

You can read more on the Freakonmics blog as well.

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