Adding To The Noise

A critical view of new media, new technology and new marketing.


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100 Insights For New Media Marketing


For my 100th post on this blog, I thought I would share all 100 insights in one place. Each listing is a link back to the original post.

Social Media Marketing Tips

100 Insights For New Media Marketing:

1. Is New Media Killing Traditional Media’s Star?

2. Are Bloggers More Sensitive To Spin?

3. Technology Makes Us Dumber, Less Productive And Stressed Out

4. Which Advertising Medium Is best?

5. Can Direct Response Be Creative?

6. Toyota Apology-athon

7. Why Does New Media Matter? Because United Breaks Guitars

8. The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog

9. Walk A Mile In Zappos’ New Media Shoes

10. Tu Voz Rings True For Minority Marketing

11. More Information On Information Overload

12. Does Copy Matter Less On The Web?

13. Can The iPad Save My Newspaper?

14. Are You Ready For A Content Revolution?

15. Somebody’s Watching Me

16. Is There A Creative Process?

17. Is All Buzz Good And Cheap?

18. Brand Extensions Achieve MAXIMum Failure

19. Speak Softly And Carry A Big Marketing Stick

20. Is Facebook’s Privacy Policy Friend or Foe?

21. BP Can’t Get Beyond Petroleum

22. Are Mobile Ads Still Annoying?

23. Are Intellectual Property Rights Wrong?

24. EBSCO, Forbes, Time Open The Digital Divide

25. Yahoo Cheers Associated Content Acquisition–Society Jeers

26. Can Millennials Save Us Through Cause Marketing?

27. Creativity Beats Media In TV ROI

28. GM Recall Recalls Past PR Crises

29. Cause Marketing Or Crisis Response?

30. US Census: Bad Ads But Great Information

31. Where Is The Star Power In The Gulf Clean Up?

32. Cause Marketing’s Future Is Engagement Through Social Media

33. Churchill, TED And New Marketing

34. Blah, Blah, Blog: Why Companies Should Listen

35. Online Research: Temptations and Limitations

36. Does .005% Make A Difference? Ask Toyota

37. Can Marketing Statistics Improve Your NFL Team?

38. Celebrity, Media Outreach And Events Oh My!

39. Cable TV Decline: Media Planning Gets Tougher

40. Failed Test? Try An Ethnographic Study

41. Do We All Need Twitter Editors?

42. The Press Release, Blogger Outreach And SEO

43. New Media Needs A New Name

44. Public Relations Challenges For Non-profits

45. Three Is The Magic Number

46. Corporate Communications, Marketing, IMC, PR and Advertising. What’s the difference?

47. Which Social Media Conversation Are You Joining?

48. Earth Day PSA 2.0

49. Click Here: Digital Call To Actions

50. Measuring Print Response 2.0

51. Visual Continuity in Print And Digital

52. Brand Equity: Tangible Assets Are A Small Part Today’s Brand Value

53. Do You Have Social Media Fatigue?

54. Which Came First The Product Or Value?

55. Ride The Cluetrain To Five Easy Pieces: New Marketing Strategy For A New Digital Market

56. The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in Marketing and Advertising

57. Social Media Is A Big Idea For Small Business

58. Cause Marketing to Boost Startups and Small Business

59. As Smartphone Ownership Crosses 50% And Mobile Ad Spending Jumps 80% Keep 3 Key Measures In Mind

60. Search Gets Social

61. A Dead Guy Is Following Me On Twitter: Signs Social Media Is Taking Over

62. Visual Continuity: Is It Always A Good Strategy?

63. Big Ideas And Big Results Don’t Need Big Budgets

64. Afraid of Digital? History Says Run To It, Not Away

65. Savages Movie Written With Fragment Digital Media In Mind

66. A Social Media Experiment: TDI Club Forum

67. Hallucinations Aren’t Contagious, But Social Media Is Real For Many Business Functions

68. Do You Look For Wrongs Or Rights? Stop Social Media Excuses

69. “Like” Is More Than A Facebook Icon

70. Forrester: Facebook and Twitter Do Almost Nothing for Sales

71. Communications: The Language That Drives Revenue

72. Brand Engagement Through The “Martydom Effect”

73. Super Bowl Ads: A Unique Opportunity for Undivided Attention

74. Fear Means Go: Stretch Yourself For Social Media Success

75. Successful Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes To Discover New Approaches, Opportunities And Business Models

76. What Do We Do With Out-Of-Date Advertising Professors?

77. Gen-Y Honda Student Campaign Gets Results With This Gen-Xer

78. A Text For That? App Hype Shouldn’t Discount Text Marketing

79. Trouble Harnessing Social Media? Relationships Can’t Be Automated

80. Can Retail Make Room For Showrooming?

81. There Are No Top 10 Best Rules for Social Media Marketing

82. Has PR Become An Unsustainable 24/7 Profession: Do We Really Need Social Media Mission Control Centers?

83. Do You Have To Be Active On Social Media? Do You Like Being Invited To A Party And Being Ignored?

84. Filling The Digital Marketing Gap 19 Students At A Time

85. Mom’s Don’t Tweet But They Do Watch The Voice And #VoiceSave Through Their Teens

86. The 12 Ways of Brand Community Value: My Year End Social Media Tips List

87. Research Says Add New Media, But Don’t Drop The Old: Study Of Over 400 Successful Marketing Campaigns

88. What Is Your Social Media BFF? 42% Of Adults Now Use Multiple Social Sites

89. Shakespeare Predicts Super Bowl Commercial Winners: Research Shows Sex And Humor Aren’t The Key, It’s Story

90. USA Today Ad Meter Super Bowl Results: Story Wins With Puppy Love And Others!

91. If You’re Simply Adding To The Noise, Facebook Will Now Turn Off Your Organic Reach

92. Airline Industry Has Highest Response Rate On Twitter And Facebook. What About In Winter Storm Pax?

93. Irony: Sharing Social Media About Spending Less Time On Social Media

94. 5 Ways Social Media Can Fuel Startup Success

95. 24 Hour Rule: What Harry S. Truman Can Teach Us About Social Media

96. Advertising Campaigns Are Dead: Brand Story Is The New Big Idea

97. Star Bellied Sneeches: Social Media Badges Can Save Companies Billions

98. Return On Relationship: Thanks Ted For Living It

99. Behind Amazon’s Pay To Quit Program: Happy Employees + Social Media = Real Value

100. 100 Tips For New Media Marketing


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Airline Industry Has Highest Response Rate On Twitter And Facebook. What About In Winter Storm Pax?


According to Socialbakers’ latest rankings, the airline industry has the highest response rate on both Twitter and Facebook responding to 76.4% of all in-bound questions on Facebook and 56.3% on Twitter. This compared to the average response rate of 40.6% on Twitter and 59.4% on Facebook. This sounds great until you need it.

Social Media, Customer Service, Airlines, Winter Weather, Delays, Cancelations

Airlines are the best in social media response.

Today I was to fly to Austin for a conference where my colleagues and I were presenting a paper on Facebook research. That was until Winter Storm Pax hit, which the Weather Channel says has “Paralyzed Nation’s Busiest Airports, Snarls Roads and Rail.” By Thursday morning, more than 5,800 domestic and international flights were canceled, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Trying to call US Airways took about 8 attempts just to be able to get on-hold. Then after being on hold for an hour and 40 minutes, I thought I would try out the great airline social media response rate with the Tweet below.

social media, customer service, airlines, storm, winter, snow, cancel, delay

My airlines social media complaint eight hours ago.

Something we noticed when checking flights at our our airport and the connecting airport what that US Airways was keeping flights going into their hub in Charlotte on schedule, or delayed even while they were canceling in mass the flights out of Charlotte – people’s connecting flights. With turnaround times tight on a normal day, you know those people would not get out.

Why are they flying people to Charlotte only to strand them in the airport? With weather related delays and cancellations, most airlines have policies not to put you up in hotels. Those white rocking chairs in Charlotte are not that comfortable! So here it is 8 hours later and I am still waiting response. I even used their hashtag, so it shouldn’t be hard for them to find me.

Am I being unrealistic in my expectations? According to Social Habit data by reported by Jay Baer, 42% of consumers complaining via social media expect a response within 1 hour and 67% expect a response within 1 day.

social media, customer service, airlines, delays, research

Consumers have high expectations when it comes to social media.

Are consumer’s social media customer service expectations too high? Is this simply because US Air and American Airlines are in the middle of merging operations? Will I ever get to Austin?

UPDATE: I never made it to my conference. Fortunately another author on the research made it from England to present. Day 3 and still no response to my Tweet from the airline. It Looks like Winter Storm Pax won:

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If You’re Simply Adding To The Noise, Facebook Will Now Turn Off Your Organic Reach


One of my favorite bands is Switchfoot and their song “Adding to the Noise” is the inspiration for this blog. When I started it four years ago, there were roughly 200,000 million blogs and I couldn’t imagine why the world would need another one. I even wrote a post  “The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog.”  Ultimately this question lead me to the debate between quantity versus quality. A recent Michael Stelzner podcast interview featured Jeff Goins, a successful blogger and author who had several blog failures when he was chasing subscribers (quantity focus) until he started a passion blog (quality focus) that now has over 200,000 subscribers.

Today Technorati indexes over 1.3 billion blogs and the focus on quality content has become more important than ever. For marketers this noise has been creeping up in another social landscape – Facebook. In August of 2013 Facebook revealed that “every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories … most people don’t have time to see them all.” By December 2013 Ad Age reported “Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.”

The bottom line is that Facebook has changed its algorithm, formerly called Edgerank, and content from business Pages has seen a drop-off in organic reach. In response, Facebook is urging paid distribution for brands to get back into their fan’s News Feeds. Since the tweak some brands have reported as much as a 40% decrease in organic reach.

Facebook Drop Organic Reach

Decrease in organic reach from Edgerank Checker.

In the end, business may have to increase their Facebook spending to maintain or expand reach, but there could be another option. Switchfoot sings, “What’s it going to take to slow us down … If we’re adding to the noise turn off this song.” Perhaps we need another content revolution. If you provide content people want to engage with, not turn off, you will break through the noise. Brands could up their content game to emerge organically from the noise in users’ News Feeds.

But this revolution is fueled by more than quality content. It is also about quality time. Mari Smith, author of Facebook Marketing an Hour a Day suggests that marketers should focus more on community management. The more your fans like, comment and share your content, the more likely that content will show up in their news feeds.

It seems there is room for improvement in the engagement game. Social Bakers provides social media monitoring tools and has been measuring brand’s engagement levels on social networks. Their recent reports indicate that only 10% of brands respond to 85% of questions on Facebook.

Socially Devoted Brands on Facebook and Twitter.

Socially Devoted Brands data by Social Bakers.

A brand that steps up its engagement game could not only protect its organic reach, but also find a significant competitive advantage. We all love when someone listens to us. When your fans hear from you, their excitement will spread along with your reach and reputation.

Ted Rubin calls this a real Return on Relationship. Fight quantity (clutter & filters) with quality (content & engagement). With every post, update and comment ask yourself, “Is it adding something meaningful or simply adding to the noise?”


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Shakespeare Predicts Super Bowl Commercial Winners: Research Shows Sex And Humor Aren’t The Key, It’s Story


This year marketers are paying a record $4 million for a :30 second Super Bowl ad to reach a record of over 111.3 million viewers. Yet, for that money it’s not enough, advertisers need their ads to go viral. Knowing what makes a Super Bowl ad buzz worthy is important in this high stakes marketing event. There are a lot of predictions and theories out there, but research my colleague and I conducted found that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not.

What does William Shakespeare have to do with Super Bowl Commercials? Our two-year analysis of 108 Super Bowl commercials found a significant relationship between dramatic form and favorability in consumer Super Bowl ad rating polls such as USA Today’s Ad Meter and Spotbowl.com. The research pulls from Aristotle’s Poetics and “Freytag’s Pyramid” five act plot structure popularized by dramatist such as Shakespeare to reveal the power of story.

Super Bowl Ads, Super Bowl Bowl Commercials, Super Bowl XLVIII, USA Today Ad Meter, Spotbowl.com, Freytag's Pyramid, Shakespeare, Dramatic Form, 5-Acts

A 5-Act Story Following Freytag’s Pyramid is The Secret to Super Bowl Ad Success.

According to Freytag, a drama is divided into five parts called acts, and these acts combine to form a dramatic arc: Inciting Moment, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Moment of Release. We found that consumer ratings were significantly higher for commercials that follow a full five-act dramatic form compared to commercials that did not. Additionally, the more acts commercials had (3 versus 2) the higher the ratings.

Based on this analysis and advancement of narrative theory, my prediction for this year’s Super Bowl ad winner will be Budweiser’s Puppy Love. Viewers favor ads with dramatic plot lines. Plot is what Aristotle emphasized in Poetics as early as 335 BC.

The power of story has already drawn 30 million views on YouTube and significant press coverage for “Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — ‘Puppy Love'” two days before the actual game and official airing of the spot.

“What Makes A Super Bowl Ad Super for Word-of-Mouth Buzz?: Five-Act Dramatic Form Impacts Super Bowl Ad Ratings” is being published Fall 2014 in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. The more complete a story marketers tell in their commercials the higher it performs in the ratings polls, the more people like it, want to view it, and share it.

What are your predictions for Sunday’s Super Bowl ad winners?

Keith Quesenberry


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What Is Your Social Media BFF? 42% Of Adults Now Use Multiple Social Sites


The term Best friends forever (BFF) is a close friendship developed by teenagers and young people. We may be friends with a few or a lot of social media sites, but I bet you have your favorite.

800px-Best_Frends_Forever_-_Golden_Gate_bridge_guard_rail_166

The Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update gives us a look into how social media use is evolving. As of 2013, 73% of online adults used social networking sites. Facebook was many people’s BFF in terms of number of users. But Pew Center Research also found that a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms.

Results of the survey indicate that some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. What’s more, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. Have you starting exploring personal, career, or business relationships beyond Facebook?

SocialMediaSites

But even this information from the Pew Center Research study can be limiting. It only looked at Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. We know there is a lot more out there. It seems that every month another social media star is rising. Lately you may have been hearing about SnapChat or Quora, and Digg reinventing itself and gaining ground. Plus, you can never count out Google+, which keeps adding features to gain users. Let’s face it, social media can be overwhelming.

The key to success is realizing you don’t have to be in every social media channel to see real results. How do you choose? Start by organizing them into categories. You probably have high school and college BFFs, family BFFs, Work BFFs and neighborhood BFFs. They are all your friends, but you do different things with each. Below are the main categories of social media that I have developed with a list of the main players in each

Social Media Categories:

Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+

Blogging and Forums – WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr

Microblogging  – Twitter, Pinterest

Media Sharing – YouTube, Flikr, Instagram

Geo-location – Foursquare, Facebook Places, Google+ Locations

Ratings and Reviews – Yelp, Citysearch, Google+ Local

Social Bookmarking – Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg

Wikis and Social Knowledge – Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Quora

Podcasts – RSS, iTunes

For personal, business, or career, you have to decide who you want to talk to and what you to say and how you want to say it. Wikipedia says BFFs are common when you are young, but you may grow out of them as you get older. Perhaps it is time you grew out of your social media BFF and start exploring some of these other options.


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Research Says Add New Media, But Don’t Drop The Old: Study Of Over 400 Successful Marketing Campaigns.


Last fall my colleagues and I published research in the International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. Our study “IMC and The Effies” analyzed integrated marketing communications touchpoints used in 421 Effie Award-winning campaigns from 1998-2010 – campaigns awarded for marketing effectiveness.

In case you are not familiar with them, Effie Award-winners are proven success stories. Each campaign has supported its effectiveness with verifiable data that demonstrates it has met its marketing and advertising objectives. As indicated below, what we saw was an increased use in the number of marketing touchpoints from roughly two (such as TV and print) to six (such as TV, print, radio, PR, Interactive, Consumer Involvement).

The Number of Touchpoints for a Successful Effie Campaign has Increased

The number of consumer touchpoints for a Successful Effie Campaign has Increased

Of those communications touchpoints, public relations, interactive marketing, guerilla marketing and consumer involvement showed noteworthy increases over time. Over the last 13 years, marketing has changed dramatically and the practice of IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) has increased greatly. Successful Effie Award marketing has increasingly used more multimedia communications campaigns and less single-media touchpoint campaigns.

Effie Awards

Traditional media used to rule, but now new media is a key ingredient to marketing success.

What can we learn from this? 

First, marketing campaigns should be built on multimedia touchpoints. I talk a lot about the power of social media, but what you will notice here is that interactive (social media) alone is not the key ingredient to success. Traditional media such as TV is no longer the dominate medium, yet it has not gone away. Integrated multimedia efforts are needed today to break through the media clutter and reach an increasingly fragmented audience. Have you been so caught up in the social media hype that you have forgotten traditional advertising media?

Second, public relations and interactive media play an increasingly important role in effective campaigns and should be considered as a part of an integrated multimedia marketing campaign. It’s hard to ignore digital efforts, but are you leveraging PR to its full extent? Public relations is especially important for Startups. Can you hold an event around your product or campaign? How can you turn your marketing into a news story? I saw Alex Bogusky speak at an AWEEK Creativity conference years ago and he said CP&B always tried to create PR-able Advertising. The result was viral successes such as BK Subservient Chicken to their Mini campaign.

Finally, our study over 400 successful campaigns gave another insight. In addition to public relations and interactive media, marketers should also consider direct email, design, cinema, sponsorships, guerrilla, and consumer involvement media. Any surprises here? You’re probably using email, but what about sponsorships? Sponsoring local activities ties into PR and event tactics. Sponsoring non-profit / charity events that your target cares about taps into the increasing influence of cause marketing. Consumer involvement is word-of-mouth, consumer generated media and viral, which should be the fuel adding to your integrated flame.

The Super Bowl is a prime example of these changes – watch the TV ad hype leading up to the game in the next couple of weeks. Even though the Super Bowl is one of the last remaining mass media outlets, advertisers now depend on pre- and post-game public relations and digital media tactics to generate buzz outside the actual broadcast. Successful marketers who have won Effie Awards are adding more communication touchpoints over the years, but not dropping traditional outlets. So as we continue to hype up new media, don’t forget the old.


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The 12 Ways of Brand Community Value: My Year End Social Media Tips List


A couple of years ago some professors conducted research published in the Journal of Marketing. Using social practice theory, they studied 9 brand communities from various product categories to discover 12 common practices consumers realize value beyond what firms create or even anticipate. I thought I would take some time to explain these practices with examples, but also ask you to consider whether you are leveraging these insights to optimize collaborative value creation. Through these 12 practices, consumers can affect the entire marketing mix, enable brand use and encourage deeper community engagement.

12 Practices for Creating Value in Brand Communities

12 Practices for Creating Value in Brand Communities

1. Welcoming – Greeting new members and assisting in brand learning and community socialization. Welcoming can also be negative and discourage participation. When I started following @JHUCarey they sent a quick note welcoming me to their Twitter brand community with, “@Kquesen Great to connect with you! Looking forward to your tweets. 🙂 ”

2. Empathizing – Lending emotional support to other members, including support for brand-related trials (product failure) or life issues (job). Apple’s new version of Keynote is simplified, but also deleted features upsetting Apple community members. Here is one member empathizing with those trials starting by saying, “Relax and breath.”

3. Governing – Explaining behavior expectations within the brand community. I return to Apple Support Forums for their governing example. The Community Etiquette guidelines are simple, yet enforced. One member remarked how his first post expressing frustration over Keynote ’13 was removed for obscenities. He removed them and the comment was returned to public view.

4. Evangelizing – Sharing brand “good news” and inspiring others, which may involve negative comparison to competing brands. This summer the Android Community website published a blog post evangelizing Android, “iPhone 5S specification rumor wrap-up: this is no Android competitor.” It spurred 26 emotional comments from brand enthusiasts.

5. Justifying – Rationale for devoting time and effort to the brand. Lego Certified Professionals does a great job of justifying more time spent with the brand by explaining their existence as “… a community-based program made up of adult LEGO hobbyists who have turned their passion for building and creating with LEGO bricks into a full-time or part-time profession.”

6. Staking – Recognizing variance within the brand community membership and marking intragroup distinction and similarity. Yahoo Answers provides staking with Top Contributor badges for its most active brand community members.

7. Milestoning – Milestoning is noting seminal events in brand ownership and consumption. When Facebook surpassed a billion users it was a big deal. The facesoffacebook.com is milestoning by cramming every user onto a single page of over 1.2 billion colored pixels that can be zoomed to reveal individual faces.

8. Badging – Badging is translating milestones into symbols. Samsung Nation is an online loyalty program that offers virtual rewards to consumers who talk up the electronics giant and offers badging such as a virtual “Twitterati” turquoise circle for posting links to samsung.com.

9. Documenting – Detailing the brand relationship journey as a story. Chipotle Grill’s “The Scarecrow” does an excellent job at documenting their brand story as over 11 million now know their commitment to food with integrity.

10. Grooming – Caring for the brand and optimizing use patterns. The Home Depot’s YouTube Channel is a great place for grooming the brand’s “You Can Do It” image including their “How to Tile a Bathroom” video with over 1.3 million views.

11. Customizing – Modifying the brand to suit group or individual needs by changing factory specs or enhancing performance. NikeiD has built a community around customizing by allowing “you to personalize your performance, fine-tune your fit and represent your style.”

12. Commoditizing – Recommendations directed at other members or at the firm (you should fix this/do this/change this) improve products brought to the marketplace. Five years ago Dell brought commoditizing to a new level with IdeaStorm, which has received nearly 15,000 suggestions and has made 500 refinements based on them.

That is my year end top 12 list. I hope you found practices to implement this year that will add value and increase engagement in your brand communities.


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Filling The Digital Marketing Gap 19 Students At A Time


The Online Marketing Institute (OMI), ClickZ, and Kelly services released results of their 2014 State of Digital Marketing Talent report.  This survey of 747 Fortune 500 marketing executives reveals there is a serious digital marketing talent gap. What’s more, this shortage of digital marketing skills is hurting sales and marketing ROI. The good news? If you have these skills, you are in high demand.

In my post “What To Do With Out-of-Date Advertising Professors?” I spoke about an Advertising Age article that talked about the underperformance of undergraduate marketing and advertising classes. An advertising agency owner quotes students saying things like, “Subjects like mobile marketing aren’t even offered at their schools” and “classes promise integrated marketing while delivering insights about only traditional tactics.” In light of this education gap, I would like to highlight one course that I offer through the Center for Leadership Education at Johns Hopkins University. Blogging & Online Copywriting  is attempting to build a bridge to the new digital language.

Digital Marketing, Online Copywriting, Digital Copywriting, Advertising, Education, Careers, Internships

As you can see in the graph above, the ClickZ, OMI, Kelly Services report highlights the missing skills that are creating the talent gap and potentially costing corporations market share. In my Blogging & Online Copywriting course we cover all these subjects: analytics, mobile, content marketing, social media, email marketing, marketing automation, SEO, digital advertising, and more. For example, one former student is now working at digital marketing tech firm HubSpot, the 2nd fastest growing software company within the INC 500.

Another insight from the study is that hiring managers say “sorting through resumes is time-consuming and applicants do not differentiate themselves from one another.” Blogging & Online Copywriting also teaches students to create their own professional blog that has helped many land valuable internships and their first jobs out of school. This helped that one student get her foot in the door at HubSpot as she talks about on the CLE Student Blog.

So for corporations saying they, “… haven’t been able to hire the specialist we need due to lack of talent or experience in our area.” I know of at least 19 Johns Hopkins students you may be interested in this Spring.

Yes, there is a digital marketing talent gap as much as 27% to 37% in key skill areas at Fortune 500 companies – Imagine what it is at other corporations, startups and small businesses. But with the gap, comes opportunity. ClickZ, OMI, and Kelly Services sum up the rewards of investing in digital marketing education:

  • For the global brand it means “major expansion and market share gains that would normally take tens of millions of advertising dollars.”
  • For the startup and small business it means “going from surviving to thriving.”
  • For the career minded student it means “one of the best paying and growth minded career opportunities ever.”


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There Are No Top 10 Best Rules for Social Media Marketing


The other day I was working in my home office when the FedEx Ground guy pulled up. I noticed on his dashboard was a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits. When I asked him about it, he said he keeps them in case of wild homeowners dogs. I thought that was a very smart strategy that is probably not in the official FedEx employee rules. It was something he learned from unique experience between him and his customers.

This led me to thinking about all those self proclaimed “Top Strategies for Social Media Success” lists that we see everywhere online and off. Bloggers and journalists love lists and we are told top 10 lists generate top traffic, so we write them. A simple Google search returns 135 million various forms of “top tips for social media marketing.” But if we are honest with ourselves (I’ve written plenty of these myself) there really is no one-list-fits-all social media strategy. What worked for Comcast Cable and Best Buy and Universal Studios latest movie launch probably will not work exactly for your local bank, tech start up or package good.

Is your social media strategy unique to your situation or are you simply following the rules?

Is your social strategy unique to your situation or are you simply following the rules?

The problem with posts and articles like The Best Social Media Tells A Story, and Top 6 Social Media Marketing Tips, or  Social Media Marketing: How Do Top Brands Use Social Platforms is you can’t really build a social media plan out of them. Just because 80% of top brands are using Pinterest, does not mean that you should. Even if you did, how would you use it, what would you post there and how would that tie into what you’re doing on Facebook? Is it a good idea to tell a story in Social Media? Sure. But what story do you tell and where?

These are answers that can not be found in a blog post or article about the latest social media platform, technique, tip or survey result. Like my FedEx delivery guy, you need a strategy unique to your experience and customers. So how do you find your Milk Bone solution? Despite saying that lists don’t work, I suggest this basic social media strategy framework:

  1. Identify your business goals, marketing strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  2. Determine your target audience, discover where they’re talking online and what they’re saying.
  3. Engage the target on their social platforms with meaningful branded content in a way that leverages each platform’s key capabilities.

Even this list is woefully incomplete, but at least it starts in a place rooted in your unique situation and starts to drive a strategy of choosing social platforms and creating content based on your business objectives, marketing strategy and target audience. Otherwise you are left to chase 135 million different people’s top tips that may or may not be good suggestions for your business.

Perhaps this explains why in a recent AMA survey only 9.9% of CMOs believe their social marketing is “very integrated” to the firm’s strategy and a full 15.2% admit that it is not integrated at all. This despite the same CMOs all planning to increase social media spending more than two folds in the next five years. If you want to really integrate social media into the rest of your marketing and business operations, you need to go beyond the tips and lists. Dig deeper with a good social media strategy book and/or workbook or enlist the help of a consultant who can take you through a more complete social media strategic planning process. And a white paper report such as “How to Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Strategy,” will help get you a lot further down the road towards true social media integration. The result will be a treat for you and your customers.


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Successful Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes To Discover New Approaches, Opportunities And Business Models


“To me success can be achieved only through repeat failure and introspection”     – Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda Motor Company

Unfortunately too many firms I worked for motivated performance with fear of failure. Their attitude was that it better be perfect the first time. But I have learned over the years that failure is part of the learning process.

In the Harvard Business Review Peter Sims agrees. In The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure, Sims observes that many MBA-trained executives are never given permission to fail and industrial management is mostly built on mitigating risks and preventing errors, not innovating or inventing. Yet Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research that successful entrepreneurs make decisions by making lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models.

Whitney Johnson process for turning failure into success.

Whitney Johnson process for turning failure into success.

The way you handle failure is the corner stone of success. Having no room for failure means you have no room for progress. In another HBR article, Whitney Johnson advises how to Put Failure in It’s Place. Johnson says, “Implicit in daring to disrupt the status quo is daring to fail. As we learn by doing and do by learning something will eventually (and inevitably) not work.” How do we not let failure take us down?

  1. Acknowledge sadness: Grieving is an important part of the process. If you suppress sadness, you risk losing your passion, which is the essential engine of innovation.
  2. Jettison shame: Failure doesn’t limit innovation – shame does. Pull shame out of the process to gain the lift you need to get back to daring and dreaming.
  3. Learn the right lesson: What valuable truth did you discover by failing? The lesson isn’t to never pursue a dream again, but to gain valuable insights that will help the next idea succeed.

The difference between winners and losers is winners have accepted failure, learned from it and move on. Losers never enter the game for fear of failure or the first failure stops them dead in their tracks. Need more proof? Here is a list of famous failures turned success by Business Insider:

  • Walt Disney was told a mouse would never work.
  • J.K. Rowling was on welfare.
  • Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for T.V.”
  • Jerry Seinfeld was booed off-stage.
  • Sidney Poitier was told to become a dishwasher.
  • Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times.
  • The Beatles were dropped by their record label.
  • Steven King received 30 rejections for “Carrie.”
  • Michael Jordan was cut form his high school basketball team.
  • Steve Jobs was removed from the company he started.

Failure isn’t time to stop, it’s time to learn. Anything worth having is not easy. Join the winners that own their failures and learn from it. The reality of our world today is we all must be lifelong learners. Are you not allowing yourself to fail and limiting your future success?