On hardwork, Shorts Cuts and Aggregating in Digital

 

Do you ever hear anyone after a huge win, a major client victory or a momentous occasion within an organization say the following? “Without the short cuts and the corners we cut, we would have never made it…”

In the world of digital, there exists the potential to aggregate your activities and consolidate your digital streams so as not to duplicate work. That’s not really a short cut. THAT is much different than buying followers on Twitter. Additionally, creating an editorial calendar for when you are going to blog and what your topics will be and what the content might be is a lot different than paying someone to load you up with bland, link baited  light on content,articles to fill your blog with.

Furthermore, taking the time to develop a database of customers that you curate and nurture along and turn into brand advocates that you can send targeted emails and Facebook offers and coupons to, does not resemble buying a used, stepped on, non-qualified list of names that you can email blast to without permission.

“Just” throwing up a website pales in comparison to taking the time to find out from your audience what they want and making sure that what you sell or offer online is meeting the needs and expectations of your buyers, customers and prospects. We don’t live in a brochure-ware web world any longer.

Last point. Don’t discount new technologies because you don’t understand them and because you don’t want to take the time to understand them. That’s not hard work. That’s saying, “It’s too hard for me to understand and it probably won’t benefit me…”

You need to know that there are basic steps here in every digital channel that you need to do and do right if you want to be here next year. At every digital juncture you have the potential to make a choice. A short cut or hard work? Believe it or not, your audience knows the difference.

 

The Consistency of Being Inconsistent in Digital

The only constant in life is change-François de la Rochefoucauld

Sometimes I think the toughest part of my job is trying to stay current.  And I’m supposed to be a thought leader? Ha! So if I’m thinking that, what does that mean for you or the CMO, the CTO or the Director of social, or digital marketing or marketing? It means we’re all in the same boat. It means we don’t have a lot of time to learn something, prove something, sell something, justify something and then run it up the food chain to the C-suite and back then back down. What’s more, let’s add the pressure of 3 concrete tenets in the digital space:

  1. Is what you’re doing making the company money?
  2. Is what you’re doing saving the company money?
  3. Is what you’re doing driving or building equity for the company?

If what you’re doing, does not concretely answer in the positive one of the above 3 questions, the clock is ticking. Digital is moving so fast, that it is really hard for a lot of digital leaders, or social media managers to show the results that are required from their C-suite counterparts.

Therefore, the one way to break through the light speed pace of digital is to know these five thnigs.

  1. Anticipate that things will change
  2. Be agile enough to change
  3. Be open to change
  4. Be inclusive
  5. You can’t manage digital if you don’t measure digital-but know what metrics matter.

Some things do remain constant besides change in digital though. It’s up to you to figure out what works for your organization and to build out from there, but always keeping an eye on what’s next. Be agile.

What Can P90X Teach Us About Social Digital Principles?

In case you may be living under a rock and do not know what P90X is, it’s currently the media darling of the fitness world. It’s a fitness program encapsulated on DVD in which it stresses 3 simple core principles into it’s workout regime. The core principles are grounded in intensity, variety and consistency.

So I thought, can we make a correlation between P90X and social? Or marketing either online or offline?

The answer is absolutely. Let’s take a quick look.

First, I did a search on Intensity and pulled these colloquial terms:

All of them make sense, but when I think of intensity in digital/social media marketing, I think of focus.

Next up is Variety, which would seemingly fly in the face of focus, but not necessarily. To me, variety means keeping things fresh, not only from a marketing standpoint but also from the standpoint of giving you and your employees and your customers, a reason to come to work, do the work and buy the work. Variety is a two way street.

Lastly we have one of the four pillars of life in my opinion. Consistency. Do you want to succeed? Do you want to win? Do you want to overcome? It’s all about reps. Being consistent with your routine, with your messaging, with your offers, with your conversations, with your content, with your employees and most importantly with your customers. In sports, we marvel at how good it appears that some athletes are-we don’t realize how hard they practiced and worked in order to be consistent.

What principles guide you?

Anger, Denial, Acceptance in a Digital Agency

I’m so thematic. The flow of my blog posts have gone from one extreme to another. But for good reason… Anger at clients for parting ways with me. Denial of the fact that clients are not paying me and now acceptance. Acceptance that though I indeed love what I do and know how to do it well, it may be time to do it for someone else. Though having your own digital agency is cool and fun and certainly sexy, it also presents its own set of unique challenges.

In fact, there have been instances over the past 2 1/2 months or so where I have gone through every stage on this graphic.

It goes something like this:

  • Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing that one of my best clients is tightening it’s belt and will no longer be utilizing my skills.
  • Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable, I angle to salvage the deal by offering an alternative service/skill and the client agrees but at a rate that is substantially less than what I was charging.
  • Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion. I’m now pissed that it has come to this and want to take it out on something, so what do I do? I write a blog post about it.
  • Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out, I work doubly hard with my other clients to make sure that they are happy and look for new business. I realize that times are tough and everyone thinks they can do what we do.
  • Depression stage:  My other large client has now missed 2 invoicing periods and now I have turned into a collection agency and have stopped work on their account. The final realization of the inevitable is starting to sink in. It might be the realization that maybe having a digital agency in Southwest Florida wasn’t such a good idea in such crappy economic times.. So to combat this bout of depression, I wrote a post about the situation. It seems to help some but offers little solace.
  • Testing stage:  I call this the looking for answers or seeking solutions stage. I have decided to use my network to see what else is out there, determined to make the best of a bad situation. I know the timing is not exactly the best right?  But sanity is important right now.
  • Acceptance stage: I’m realizing that it’s not only tough to run your own agency, but it’s also tough to do the majority of the work, job the rest out, manage it, find more clients, look for talented people, stay current, do proposals, write posts etc. etc., Knowing this and coming to grips with the situation  has allowed me to finally find the way forward, and realize that yes, I still love social media so much that I blogged about it. 🙂 but I can have more of an impact on a larger scale in another capacity. So though I will continue to consult in some capacity as I go forward, it’s time to see what else is out there as well.

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Why people are leaving Twitter

According to Nielsen last month, a full 60% of users who sign up to use Twitter fail to return the following month. And in the 12 months  before the “Oprah effect,”  retention rates were even lower: only 30% returned the next month.

I have a theory as to why that might be and it’s pretty simple.

Example #1

twit

It’s probably a given that most new users have heard about Twitter and want to try it out. But this homepage doesn’t do much to explain it. Does it? By the way, the home page? That’s pretty much the same one they have used from the get-go. Of course you may click on the watch a video link for a how-to, but me thinks most will just go ahead and sign up and jump right in. In which case you  get the following screen after you have registered.

twit2

Is this intuitive?  Don’t you think it’s time to at least re-do the UI/Homepage?

Content-what’s it worth?

nyt

I got an email from an outfit out of Atlanta that was pitching me on my thoughts of what a combination of advertising, micropayments and regular subscriptions would look like for all of the newspapers that are struggling to redefine themselves.

As luck would have it, I had been thinking about and was going to write about the state of newspapers and how they were going to evolve with the times.  More specifically, how were they going to make money and survive.

Here’s the easy answer. They’re not. Some variation of them might. But…

Newspapers as we know or knew them, will not exist in their current state within the next 5 years.

Mark it down.

The proof is there and it continues to rear its ugly head week after week after week. Newspapers are shutting down. Newspapers, some deemed iconic institutions, are shrinking and or closing their doors. Why? The cost to produce the papers are outpacing the consumption. Why? We’re a nation on the move. The people, Gen Y and even Gen X, who are slowly becoming, if not already, the dominant workforce, are content to get their news, information, and content,online. We are moving rapidly to a global, mobile, society where newspapers do not fit into the equation of our daily lives.

As well, the next 5 years will crank out college grads, a workforce, and individuals that have virtually zero affinity with newspapers. They will have zero need for newspapers and they will not clamor for their “Sunday paper”.

So where does this leave the readers of the Sunday New York Times? Look for that venerable paper to go to printing once a week, on Sundays. In fact look for the larger ones to follow suit as well. It’s the only way newspapers as you and I know them, can survive in some  fashion of its former self.

So where will the money come from? These organizations will focus on the advertisers as they normally did, but it will evolve into using search as a primary function and money maker- where these online publications tie in some type of Adwords function into their sites. Ad dollars will flow but in different forms.

News organizations and Media outlets that control these papers, cannot rely on subscriptions, simply because there are too many ways for their readers to get the content for free. The realize that.  No one and I repeat no one, is willing to pay for content that they can find elsewhere, for free. If I’m forced to say, “OK, maybe some will pay for content”. Riddle me this, who are those people and what are they willing to pay for? If you’re going to say premium content, please tell me what you are calling premium and why is it worth paying for?

I know some of you will fight this notion, but then again if I were to have told you 5 years ago that all of the auto-makers would be on life support right now fighting for their very existence, what would you have said? Impossible!? No way!?

Well there is no clear indicator on the horizon right now that says anything differently about the slow death demise of the newspaper. There is nothing to stop it; and there is no one currently in school or getting ready to go to school who relies as much on newspapers as the older generations did.

It’s as simple as this..

Is content still king then? You betcha. But I got news for ya, content is also free, and that’s whats killing the newspaper business.

Death of The Library and rise of the Kindle.

Unless libraries can tailor everything that they do and stand for towards the digital universe, their days as a wellspring of knowledge and information are numbered. After reading an article titled, “The Impatience of the Google Generation” in wich the author and the responses essentially come to the conclusion that the current generation and younger generations for that matter, are essentially impatient when it comes to how quickly they can find and receive information, I can only assume that the last place that they would want to go is a place where their information was in a hard bound book!

OK, so yes libraries have computers that are tied not only to their volumes of hardbound books but also to search as it relates to the internet. But riddle me this: Why would I go to a library and search for a book when I could log onto a computer and find the same information? Says the 18-24 old student. I know it’s deeper than that, but lets put ourselves in the place of someone in college or younger. A) every college student, or a good portion of them now have their own laptop. So now they “walk” around with access to any and all information/research that they will ever need.  Bogus wikis notwithstanding. and B) They are so accustomed to getting information readily, that going to a library defeats the purpose of  library research per se.

 Of course, they can still go to the “quiet” library to get work done. And there are still certain things that a library provides or possesses that a student still might need or utilize, but…the thinking is,”It’s all here on the internet”!

Generation “C” (content) has no use for a library. In fact I would venture to guess that funding on local, state and federal levels for libraries is constantly slashed in favor of more digital type programs or programs that lawmakers feel have more importance.

Having said that, here is one more thing for you to chew on.  The Amazon  Kindle is an electronic book device launched in the US by Amazon.com  this past November.  It uses an electronic paper display, reads the proprietary Kindle (AZW) format, and downloads content over Amazon Whispernet, which uses the Sprint EVDO network. This means that the Kindle can be used without the need for a computer. Whispernet is accessible through Kindle without any fee. On the release day, the Kindle Store had more than 88,000 digital titles available for download. Amazon’s first offering of the Kindle sold out in five and a half hours. It retails for $399.

Think about it. People still want to read but they want it condensed and more than just portable. So does this mean that the Dust jacket will go the way of the Jewel Case and album art? If the latest advances in media, music and entertainment are any indication, it appears that that will be the case.