I had to miss my monthly Middle School Marketing because of business travel, but was interested to read a great blog post by Jen Krupey at Viget Labs on this month's topic: Augmented Reality.
My first hand experience with augmented reality is limited to playing around on consumer clothing sites that allow you to create a virtual model of yourself and try clothing on, but as you will read in Jen's post, the technology is growing in use, so important for marketers to be aware of.
I thought this example from Cisco was particularly cool:The technology has clear implications for consumer brands, but I can imagine that in short order, we will be impressed by the clever ways that it is being integrated into B-to-B marketing.
Any thoughts on how it might be applicable to you business?
- Lisa Throckmorton
Its the day after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and Ive spent some time today reflecting on my weekend activities. I enjoyed a festive holiday dinner with my family, went to a D.C. museum and gathered the guts to venture out into the shopping scene on Black Friday
. Even with all of the hustle and bustle, I found some time to crack open a book that Ive had my eye on. I started reading Get Content. Get Customers.
, written by Joe Pulizzi
and Newt Barrett, which describes the content marketing scene and how it has evolved into the influential entity it is today. You may remember Joe from an appearance at a SpeakerBox event
earlier this year, where he described the complex definition of content marketing and illustrated how implementing best practices can boost revenue numbers.
Wanting more information on the topic, I figured reading Joes book would be a solid way to dig a little deeper. From what Ive read thus far, its pretty clear that transitioning a few bucks from the traditional advertising and marketing budgets into that of dedicated content marketing, is the only way to survive in this content driven world. Defining the term content marketing, the book states, Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what your customers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way. There is no excuse for not interacting with customers anymore theyre out there waiting to be tapped with information and products that suit their needs and make their lives easier, and its up to you to make that happen.
Traditional interruption advertising has become obsolete if you choose to get in the way of what customers are voluntarily reading, watching or writing about, youll likely drive them away. Instead, arm your clientele with the honest information they want, rather than marketing lingo that sticks out like a sore thumb. Theyre going to do their own research anyway (via reading forums, researching competitors, consulting with peers, etc.) before calling your sales team anyway, so why not proactively stock them up with the information you want them to have in the way they want to receive it? These days, you can reach your target audience with more than just sponsorships and banner ads. From YouTube, to blogs, to Facebook to Twitter the outlets are endless! Customers are giving you a chance to speak up and connect with them take them up on their offer!
So whats the reason for the number of businesses transitioning from interruption marketing to content marketing? Below are the six ideas that the book points out
maybe youll identify yourself within one of these categories.
- Change in buyer attitudes toward traditional media and the credibility of content.
- Traditional media sources cant be counted on to assist you in reaching your customers.
- Shrinking media company budgets reduce content quality.
- Selling to your customers is becoming more challenging.
- Because technology is both cheap and easy to use, even small companies can deliver great content solutions to a targeted customer base.
- High-quality editorial, from a business?
Ill continue reading and keep you posted on new and interesting ideas that this book presents. In the meantime, let me know what book is on your nightstand and keeps your reading light on.
Having a well integrated marketing plan is more important than ever and no matter what type of media marketing you use, the goal should be the same: to develop leads.
If you are among the many marketing professionals and business leaders who are trying to stay up to speed on best practices relative SEO, content and social media - our fearless leader, Elizabeth Shea, is joining forces with Janet Driscoll Miller, President & Lead Strategist of Search Mojo on a Webinar that will discuss how to leverage Search, content, and social media resources to help your company gain higher rankings, increase traffic, and get more leads.
Elizabeth and Janet presented on a panel at a recent seminar that SpeakerBox hosted and I can attest to the wealth of knowledge that they have to share (and the great questions and furious note taking of participants when they are imparting their wisdom and first-hand examples).
Here are the specifics:
Thursday December 3, 2009 at 3-4pm ET
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/130920963
Still have questions? email@example.com - Lisa Throckmorton
The WIT Sales & Marketing and Technology SIGs hosted a special member workshop last week on Supersizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Using LinkedIn for Personal and Corporate Branding. Catherine Read led the highly interactive, sold-out workshop where attendees were encouraged to bring their laptop so everyone could make real-time profile enhancements. Her best ideas are below. If available, Ive linked to instructions for each of these tips. and add the name of your Website and blogs. 3. Use the status updates to remind your contacts what you do for a living. This is increasingly easy as LinkedIn recently announced a partnership with Twitter. 4. Invite people to connect but never use the standard invitation. Explain how you met and why youre interested in connecting or consider a more creative approach. Offset the chance of rejection with some of these tips. 5. Dont accept an invitation without looking at the profile and sending a follow up email. Presumably, the person that sent you the invitation is interested in connecting, not just adding your name to their giant rolodex of contacts. 6. Build your recommendations. If you have hundreds of contacts, shouldnt you be able to find at least one person that can say something nice about you? And the best way to get recommendations? Give them (especially to your boss). We covered so much that its too much for one post. Part II will be coming shortly and will cover Groups, Events and Applications.
- Katie Hanusik
* Photo: Catherine Read (center) and from left Marge Niedzwicz (GWU), Krista Curtiss (HP), Debbie Moore and Janet Sifers (IBM).
Just an FYI to all you news junkies There is a new website covering the DC tech community dcTechSource.
This is great news for our booming local tech community. With all of the changes at The Post and it being a daily paper with broad coverage, tech news seems to get lost in the crowd. Of course there are other outlets that cover tech news locally, there is the PTW, TechBisnow and Washington Business Journal to name a few but there is always room for new players
We could use a go to source for local tech news with a singular focus on in depth coverage of our market. dcTechSource says they are looking to cover news, events, solution/service roll outs and new clients as well as writing feature stories and conducting CEO interviews. It hasnt quite been a month yet since their launch but judging by some of the most recent articles dcTechSource could be just what a lot of us in this area are looking for a tech news source that will fill the void. Stay tuned Im working on getting a Q&A with someone there for his or her take on entering the dc tech market
It’s finally happened – you’ve landed a client an interview with their dream publication, whether it’s the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Wired, a high-profile blog or Cat Fancy. The journalist asks a few questions, your client gives the approved responses, pleasantries are exchanged and everyone hangs up. Now it’s a waiting game for the article to run and for your client to shower you with praise.
Just one problem: The article runs, and your client’s not in it. Besides dealing with an angry executive, you need to figure out exactly how your client’s place in the story got monkey-wrenched. There are a myriad of factors outside of your control (the publication’s editorial process, other interviewed sources, breaking news limiting space, etc.), but the odds are your client didn’t say what the journalist needed to hear.
So whose fault is it? Well…it’s yours.
You need to make sure that your client knows what to say to get ink – whether it’s being controversial, being knowledgeable or throwing out such pithy comments that the reporter can’t help but include them in the story.
So what do you tell your client to keep in mind to get ink?
1. The interview isn’t about you, your company or your product.
This is especially true in interviews with top-tier outlets and clients that aren’t in the Fortune 500. While your client may argue that the interview SHOULD be about them, they need to get over it. If they do want that company-specific story, they need to help the reporter NOW with the story at hand
. If they prove to be a good source, the reporter will keep coming back, eventually with that company profile piece.
2. Remember bridging and flagging? Don’t.
This is an old school tactic – it may be good for broadcast, radio or live interviews, but it’s detrimental when it comes to print and online pieces. There are few things worse you can do in a high-profile interview than come off sounding over-coached –reporters want genuine answers and information, not sanitized corporate babble. This means going off script, but in a way that’s not going to upset investors and scuttle the company – this is where you, the PR guy, comes in.
3. Be quotable.
Wandering, minutes-long answers filled with industry-specific mumbo-jumbo are effective death sentences on a phone interview. Keep your answers concise, to-the-point and sans technical toroballistics. It makes it easier for the reporter to take notes and increases the chances of your client getting a quote. If your client can distill the gist of his talking points into a single, witty sentence, even better – that’s the stuff of pull-out quotes.
4. Shut up
. No, seriously, shut up.
The reporter is the one asking the questions: They’re on a deadline and the last thing they need is your client starting off the interview with a rambling company overview or asking their own questions. To kick things off after introductions, ask the reporter if they want the 30-second overview of the company (that’s a maximum), and that’s it. Let the reporter drive – quality interviewers will give your client some time at the end of the conversation to elaborate or drive home points.
5. Look beyond the executives.
Obviously, the CEO is the person at the company who wants his name in print, but maybe he’s not the best person to speak with a Wired or an InformationWeek. You need to tailor your spokesperson to the task at hand – maybe the CTO, the director of engineering or even a product manager is the best person to speak. It may bruise the CEO’s ego, but you work for the company as a whole, not the CEO – if the interview will just be better with the CTO taking over, then it is what it is.
I’m not guaranteeing ink with these tips, but by following these guidelines, your clients will have more genuine, meaningful conversations with influential reporters and publications. And that, really, is what we aim to do in the first place – create conversations.
I was quite honored to be asked to present this morning to The Presidents' Forum
, which is sponsored by The Entrepreneur Institute
, an organization for small business presidents and CEOs ($3M-$300M range). What a great group!
Several folks asked for the presentation, so since this is geared toward CEOs and not marketing types, I thought I would share it on Plugged In.
Hope you enjoy. And thanks Entrepreneur Institute!
- Elizabeth Shea
SpeakerBox is proud to support GovEvents
in the launch of their portal for government-related events. The site provides in-depth information on a wide variety of events, from major industry tradeshows, to government conferences, to agency-sponsored roundtables, and webcasts.
Like the Hair Club for Men
pitchman, Im not only the PR rep, but also a client. Searching for events for my clients to speak, sponsor, exhibit, and attend has meant visiting numerous sites and many times falling down the Google rabbit hole trying any and all combinations of search terms to uncover applicable events. GovEvents is a lifesaver in this respect. It can be the first stop in information gathering, providing a pretty comprehensive list of events on any (government-related) topic available. Event organizers can also upload their event for free yet another channel to promote events big and small.
Ive already started using it with great success and encourage all government marketers to give it a try, I think youll find that a lot of the pain in researching events has been alleviated.
Last week, I helped SpeakerBox client Cernium
debut a new product, Archerfish Solo
, to a media-only consumer electronics event: CES Unveiled. While not nearly as intense as International CES
, Unveiled really put into perspective the differences between consumer and business technology public relations, particularly where the “wow” factor comes from.
For consumer tech PR, it’s all about the product and the innovation (the “wow” factor) behind it. Differentiation is key in the consumer space, and the chances of a successful PR program are increased dramatically if it can be shown how and why a product is not only different, but also superior to a competitor in the same space.
In June, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the folks at the Max Borges Agency
, one of the leading consumer technology PR firms in the country. I got to see how they work, how they interact with their clients and, more importantly, how they go about pitching consumer technology. The emphasis on product was clear at Max Borges just as it was at Unveiled – agency skill notwithstanding, successful consumer tech PR campaigns live and die on the virtues of the product and the product alone.
Contrast this with business technology PR, where there’s not nearly as much differentiation in products. While Company A’s enterprise content management system might have more functionality than Company B’s, the space isn’t nearly as fragmented as, say, Zune versus iPod.
Rather than being the focal point, the product serves to be the conversational backdrop. The “wow” factor needs to come from how company experts are positioned and what they have to say about key industry trends. While the product might make it into the article, the focus is more on proving that company leadership knows what they’re talking about, making them appear knowledgeable to prospective clients.
Both consumer and business technology PR campaigns need the “wow” factor to be successful – where you find this trait is what differs. For consumer tech, it’s in the product. For business technology, it’s in the people.
-- John Terrill
Have you ever come across a website that makes you shake your head and question whether or not you’re getting the information you intended to receive? Unless you’re one of the few who visit one website a week (and I guarantee I could count this number on one hand), the answer is probably yes. We’ve all been in the position where we just can’t find an answer we’re looking for or feel like we’re surfing a website that includes everything but the kitchen sink, or particularly, the information we’re specifically seeking. It got me thinking about the number of websites I’ve visited that just don’t seem to get “it”. What do I mean by “it” exactly? “It” refers to the act of connecting with your audience and giving them what they need. “It” is what keeps visitors on your website and clicking for more.
Depending on your industry, your website can take a million different directions and offer a variety of things. But there are a few “must haves” that marketing pros should implement in their website. If you think this sounds elementary, then think back to the scenario I mentioned above. Chances are, the websites that made you shake your head missed out on one of the most common elements. I have listed below my top pet peeves but there could be elements that make you click the close button yourself. Take a read and let me know – what other aspects keep you reading for more? 1. Can you hear me or should I yell louder?
– Listen to your audience
. That means do something with both the positive and negative feedback that you collect. If website visitors have a common complaint, then do something about it. Don’t just push HTML codes around and go through the motions of common updates – instead, do your due diligence and make sure you know what your customers are looking for. Whether it’s offering a form for visitors to submit with feedback, posting a survey or conducting a focus group, do something to demonstrate your dedication to your clients. They know what they want, so why not give it to them?2. Give me choices.
– Offer your audience a variety of resources. We’re getting ready to enter 2010 right? Then don’t get stuck on a rut with posting paragraphs of marketing lingo. Step up and offer your content in various outlets – videos, webinars, whitepapers, Facebook
are great examples. You’re never going to go buy a car without a little bit of research right, so why would you expect someone to call you after only a few minutes on your website? You’ve already gotten people to your website, now keep them there and give them the tools they need to confidentially take the next step – calling you to make a deal.3. Talk to me…here, there and everywhere.
– In today’s world, there’s no excuse for not staying connected. Social media outlets
not only push out information as I mentioned above, but it also gives web surfers the ability to talk with you directly. Whether it’s to voice a concern, give feedback or ask a simple question, giving people the ability to voice their comments is invaluable. Let them have their say – they are, of course, the people who keep your doors open.4. Keep the cobwebs away.
– Although social media adds more elements for you to keep on top of, it’s critical that you stay up to date. Don’t let your platforms expire or go static or else you’ll find yourself archived on The Wayback Machine
more quickly that you expected. There’s nothing more questionable than when a company’s blog, for example, isn’t regularly updated. Not only does it suggest that your company is behind the times, but it puts a gray cloud over your business. Outdated information implies that you’re not around anymore or that you can’t finish what you start. Your website is the face of your company – don’t paint the wrong impression on it.5. Know who you are.
– It’s ok to keep tabs on your competition
, but don’t get caught up in mirroring what they say. Consumers are smarter than you think. Chances are your website won’t be the only one in your field that they’ll visit. If you throw around the same language as the person down the street, you won’t make an impression either way. Avoid this and develop your own character that illustrates the values your company represents.
- Mary Evans
At this week's Women in Technology Sales and Marketing
event, "Marketing in the New Economy," the panelists shared their best recession-busting marketing tips. The presenters were Julie Sokley, McAfee
; Jennifer Abernethy, The Sales Lounge
and Matt White of White + Partners
. The panelists agreed that this has been a year of experimentation -- with Twitter, Facebook ads and events.
Julie at McAfee shared the details of their Executive Summit in Las Vegas, which is open to their most senior clients and prospects. This year, the attendance list included about 10 VIPs that were unemployed. Recognizing the value of these evangelists, McAfee rolled out the red carpet for them in spite of their employment status. This strategy has already paid dividends with a big contract win. Unfortunately for McAfee, Symantec's recession-busting strategy was to ride the coattails of McAfee's event; they wisely bought out all the signage in baggage claim at the Las Vegas airport during the McAfee event.Matt White
recommended that everyone continue to invest in marketing even during a downturn. White + Partners clients, Luray Caverns, Wolftrap and a local Mercedes-Benz dealer are having record years. In the case of Mercedes, they have had some success with a promotion offering disgruntled Redskins fans
the opportunity to turn in their unused tickets for a discount off a new car. Now that's something to cheer for.
Top photo: Event panelists: Matt White, White + Partners; Jennifer Abernethy, The Sales Lounge, Julie Sokley, McAfee; Traci Robinson-Williams, FedMatch
Bottom photo: WIT Marketing and Sales SIG Chairs: Sue Keith, ENC Marketing and Patricia Mejia, Siteworx
- Katie Hanusik
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at SpeakerBox's "Got Content? Get Government
Customers" event. Turnout was fantastic, and the feedback has been great
. If you weren't there, and wanted to catch up on some of the sessions, we have some recaps posted online
My presentation focused on Twitter for Government, which, in truth, is quite similar to Twitter for Lawyers
and many other industries. I kicked off my presentation with this quote
Ann Handley, which I believe answers the "why Twitter matters"
question as succinctly as any I've seen:
Twitter matters because of what it is: at its heart, a platform that offers an exchange of ideas and information on an unprecedented scale.
Earlier this year, Federal Computer Week's Doug Beizer wrote an encouraging look at how government agencies and officials at all levels were turning to social media
- including Twitter - "revolutionize government business" and to network, collaborate and communicate like never before. The FCC has turned to Twitter
and a new blog to promote a two-way conversation about the National Broadband Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency is using Twitter to extend its already impressive social media efforts
. Several Federal CIOs
and other high level
government officials and influencers
are on Twitter. And in a very recent and real-time example, the U.S. Army turned to Twitter
to share information on the Fort Hood shootings. The list goes on
, but you get the point.
And as the government has embraced social media, the community of publications
using Twitter to communicate with that audience has also grown. The evolution of sites like Steve Lunceford's GovTwit
and Steve Ressler's GovLoop
make this engagement easier and have really helped to unify the Gov 2.0 community.
If you're interested in B-to-G marketing and communications, how is your organization using social media to communicate with the government community?
Event fatigue? No way! I felt like I was all over the beltway last week, in Arlington, Tysons Corner and Washington, DC attending events hosted by premiere associations. Thought I'd share a couple of highlights from three packed crowds:
TiE-DC welcomed Aneesh Chopra to the Top of The Town on Tuesday night, the 3rd of November. Wow, what a view! Both inside and out. TiE-DC has really hit its stride this year, thanks to hard work from President DP Venkatesh and President-elect Amir Hudda. It wouldn't be fitting to begin the night without Aneesh starting his remarks by reminiscing of the early TiE-DC, when it was known as the Indian CEO Council. "Those early events jumpstarted his career," he exclaimed, as he was able to rub shoulders with the technology elite of the late 1990s and take his career to the next level through the relationships he gained.The next day brought me to the 20th Annual Washington Women in PR Woman of the Year Awards Luncheon, and I saw many friends among the crowd, and met some great new ones too. The keynote address was delivered by Dana Bash, correspondent from CNN, who even released some skinny on the Congressmen and women she covers on a daily basis. Congratulations to Sarah Temple, Senior Vice President of Social Marketing at Ogilve Public Relations Worldwide for winning this year's award! Your red dress campaign is terrific.
I then spent Thursday morning, November 5th, with SECAF, which is the Small and Emerging Contractor Advisory Forum boasting 200+ company members and one of the fastest growing associations in the region. Over 100 people came to hear three Small Business Office Liaisons from the intelligence communities of NGA, NSA and DIA speak about how to do business with intelligence agencies. Referring to themselves as the "three musketeers" since they often travel together to evangelize what it's like to work with intelligence agencies, Sherry Baldwin, Director of Small Business Programs for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Sandra Broadnax, Director of Small Business Programs for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and Pamela Porter, Small Business Advocate and Director for the National Security Agency (NSA), all talked about how accessible their agencies are to small businesses, and what a great time it is to be a small business selling to government. A sign that SECAF is super hot: the event sold out after one email went out to the membership, and swiftly managed to secure a 100 person waiting list. Might have to move the venue next time?
Full disclosure: TiE-DC is a client of SpeakerBox and I serve on the board of SECAF, so I'm a little biased (and a lot proud) of the value these groups deliver to members.- Elizabeth Shea
So it’s been a little while since The Washington Post rolled out it’s redesigned print edition, shaking things up a bit. From the big to the small these tweaks in format and staffing seem like an attempt to retool and adjust to the new ways most people are getting their news. Even though they did a good job of keep readers aware of changes, even providing a "Redesign Owner's Manual," many aren’t happy.
From typeface to weather maps the complaints are endless. Some will be addressed and changed (ie: the weather maps should be back to their old selves next week). And others will eventually become what we are used to and happy with.
The three changes drawing the most attention are:
1. The new WP Magazine – The magazine got a makeover and some new columns including: Unspun (a short interview with a politician), Trend Report (a weekly fashion update that used to be in the Sunday Source), and picks from the Going Out Guide. Complaints here are that it’s gotten too complicated and has too many ads, but attracting more ads was a goal of the redesign for the paper.
2. The redesign of the print edition – Not much design work was needed here as The Post already boasts an extremely clean layout. However, The Post’s in house design team made the font lager and clearer and introduced stacked headlines. Even though the font is actually larger the most complaints coming in are about the typeface being hard to read.
The big news here is that not only has the look of the paper changed, behind the redesign was a reorganization effort (announced in a memo back in March) to streamline editing desks in anticipation of an impending integration of print and digital formats. This reorg changed up the usual sections, moving some familiar columns around and created some new daily feature sections (Tuesday= Health&Science and Thursday= Local Living).
3. The addition of local sections online – This new area excludes national and international news to give locals a look at what’s going on here. Sports, weather, breaking news, restaurant guides and maps to dog parks – it can all be on your homepage.
It seems this is a perfect place for one of Elizabeth’s favorite quotes: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”– Charles Darwin
Personally, I like the changes. The print version more closely resembles the online edition which I read more often and I like the idea of the new local pages online – including snippets of info from around the paper – but it could be a bit more “hyper-local.” If I have to sign in to The Post it could at least give me news that pertains more to VA rather than DC as a whole.
What are your thoughts? Tell us here in the comments or let them know directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.