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November 2008
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January 2009

Journalism is More than Twittering in Your Underwear

Aa  I pulled that quote from Joshua's commencement speech at CUNY.  While twittering can be great for first hand impressions of an event, or even a real time light weight discussion, for the most part it strikes me as lots of people doing their own Truman Show (be your own Jim Carrey). 

Bill Moyers talked about the other end of the spectrum, the investigative piece, where search for the facts of the matter are king.  And discovering and telling the story.

And the pendulum swings.   I follow many RSS feeds for blogs and news, but at the same time I subscribe to Time magazine.   Which tends to do more in depth reporting on a subject.  (Unfortunately lately the magazine begins to look like a weekly pamphlet.)  

A good journalist exudes credibility and authority.  Because they capture the essence of the story and back it up by facts.   We in marketing can learn a lot from this discipline.  

Although we are engaging in conversations, do you stand out?  And are you telling a story which is of interest to your customers?   Something to think about for the new year.


The Two Things You Need to Start a Company: Trust & Execution

Let's face it, there are plenty of great ideas out there for new products and services.   And most of them will never see the light of day (or maybe on a late night infomercial). 

There is plenty of good advice about the mechanics of marketing a new product and starting a company.   But in my experience, once you've answered the questions:
- So What?
- Who Cares?
- What's the "aha"
And you've figured out how to get to market, you first of all need to be trustworthy.
Any business requires money, be it from a banker, friends, angels or a VC.   They need to believe in you and what you are doing.   Without that, you will have no capital.

This is also important to building customer and partner relations.   People like to do business with people they like to do business.

Secondly you have to be able to execute.   Brainstorming, business plans and wonderful architectures are just find and dandy, but you need to make them reality.  Market windows are just that.  Windows of opportunity.  And they change.  Quickly.

Tom Asacker says "Execution is the new strategy".

So if you don't have a high trust quotient or have execution problems, guess who your first employee / partner should be?


Holiday Jeers From Delta Airlines

Delta wants it's employees to leave voluntarily before they're asked to leave next year.

And Delta promised me a discount on a Crown Room membership but won't honor it.  Got the royal run around from customer service.

Turns out on their web page, you put in your credit card number and the discount code.   After accepting the promotional code the site says the discount will be take off at checkout.  Well not only did they not take the discount, but they charged the credit card right away and despite repeated contacts, won't do anything about it.  Now if for some reason there was a problem with the offer, most people give you an opportunity to cancel your transaction before they take your money.

Not Delta.  They just take your money.

I think this is called fraud, but I'll get back to you on that.  Let's see if American Express can straighten this up.

[update: Delta called and agreed it was a computer error and corrected the membership.]


Inbound Marketing: Understanding the Future

Seth Godin wrote an interesting post on lessons learned from not understanding the next big thing:

the rules of this new business didn't match the rules of my existing business.
Aa

The problem we have is not having the benefit of thinking about the future and  discussing it with people of a like mind.    Take the time.   

But remember, new opportunities means new rules.  In my case I figured out two major trends before they occurred:

  • emergence of computer appliances
  • cloud computing

And also figured out the general shape of the new rules.  But timing is always an issue.   And that's the difficult part.  So you need to have a couple of different plans depending upon how quickly the market accepts the new change.

I've had years of training figuring out the new rules.  I read science fiction (not fantasy) in which a new fact is introduced and a new society is developed.  Want a little practice.  Try watching this.


Be Noticed

This morning I talked to two people I know at two different companies.   Both deal with technical customers, one in computers, the other in manufacturing.   And they both have different approaches to reach their customers.

The software company has been very effective in intention marketing.   Their website and message is quite clear "This is what we do".   So when a potential customer says "I need this, now", bam, they come up on the first search page.   Focused, no b.s. and a very high conversion rate.

The manufacturing research company is very effective in relationship marketing.   Periodically, they carefully go through the list of people they have worked with and know, and just call to touch base.  That's it.   And they have been doing well.

So between now and the end of the year:
1) Make sure you can be found
2) Reach out and call

It's just that simple.