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@Danny Brown You're one of my favorite stops on the info highway. Your blog is sort of like a great pub - great food for thought, a good argument now and then, sometimes a good chuckle, but the beer is always cold and the company of your tribe is always terrific.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Sunday Shorts - Canada Day Edition
One Canadian to another - Happy Canada Day!
I think Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point, started this trend toward thinking there were "influencers" ie. certain people that are influencers and that social epidemics are "driven by the efforts of a handful of exceptional people." Duncan Watts ("Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer") has debunked Gladwell's myth in his research and says, not only is there no such thing as "influencers" but that the more powerful group are normal people, who talk to each other. He explains how 'measure and react' may be a more interesting strategy than the ever present 'predict and control.' So, Danny you have hit on the very subject that Duncan Watts was so outraged about - companies putting in time/effort/money going after a group of people that don't exist (and companies that are trying to make Gladwell's now debunked theory true).
I have Watts' book review on my blog http://www.elainjoliblog.wordpress.com
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Influential Mentions Aren't the Same as Word Of Mouth Returns
@LisaThorell "it's really done well elsewhere" AND a PR problem - I suppose this could be a real lesson for getting your messaging right and the power of social media. People can be intrigued by your product, hate your product or be indifferent right from the initial message. And if your message/personality/story is really wrong, you've got trouble ahead. Thanks for your comments back to me, Lisa - and thanks Danny for always providing a forum where people can disagree and still be heard.
11 months ago on Three Reasons Menshn May Be a Non-Starter
@DannyBrown I guess we'll just agree to disagree on this one - I think every project should at least be used before its skewered.
WOW. Come on folks - slamming something you haven't tried? Where's the entrepreneurial camaraderie? Another restaurant - who needs it? There are already thousands. Another TV network? Who needs HBO? Who needs another ebook on marketing??
Maybe Menshn will become the agent for political change? Who knows? Why aren't we embracing a twist on an existing idea? Giving it a chance - Saying 'you go girl' - at least you tried. The whole idea of launching is hopefully you'll find an audience that will shape what comes next.
Someone who saw something they thought they could improve upon. It's incredibly hard work to launch a site of this nature - and to have it slammed before it gets a chance to get it's little legs going is - well... a bit mean spirited.
@DannyBrown Ha! You haven't lost me yet:) I read your post on banality, and appreciate the conundrum. New readers haven't read old gems and old readers want new sparklers. Even bloggers get the blues.
11 months ago on Should You Care About Losing Blog Subscribers?
Speaking from a subscriber POV (I really admire folks who write a blog - it is really hard work), I unsubscribe when the material becomes repetitive or no longer interesting. But to make every blogger feel better, I unsubscribed Seth Godin, because his stuff was like a finger poking me in the chest - I feel he is always pontificating - telling me how things should be, how the "pure" and "right" way to live is, and somehow "we" disappoint him every day. He sends these short missives complaining about the state of his world. I know he has a brilliant mind, and his videos and books are terrific. But his written bedside manner in his blog/subscriber emails, just leave me thinking, "Seth, get over yourself." BTW, I'm sure he's not up at night, wondering why I unsubscribed.
Just above us in this post, Danny says , "Join over 54,000 smart readers who get my latest post..." Kinda big numbers. So just the number alone says something to the audience. In Robert Cialdini's book - Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion, he says we are wired to just accept stereotypes, because our brains simply cannot handle all the data that it encounters second by second. So things like expensive= good have become the stereotype the brain relies on (you see two watches on the counter, you know nothing about watches, but one is priced at $19.95 and one is priced at $10,000). I think numbers fall into the same stereotype (within reason). Bigger numbers= influence. if I see Danny's numbers and he tells me he has 54,000 subscribers, I think a) he is popular b) maybe he is popular for a reason c) if I follow him and he gets to know me as a follower, I can parlay that somehow, eventually - (just me - I know no one else thinks like that) . So numbers are not personal - good or bad - but I think they can be leveraged - we have a million subscribers speaks to a certain group - we have 250 followers that we care deeply about speaks to another. But both have leverage and impact the bottom (or point taken - top line).
PS I think size matters:)
11 months, 1 week ago on Social Media Numbers and the Bottom Line
Thanks for your insight Barry. I think the most important feature of a small town and the thing that brands are trying to duplicate is the idea of creating a community. Small towns (or at least the idealized version of a small town - because you know, small towns are being hit particularly hard in this economy) is that the there is a sense of community. But community is much more than belonging to something. It's about doing something together that makes belonging matter. They have volunteer fire departments. They have active participation in their Chambers, Legions and business associations. They have small summer fairs. It's the active engagement of individuals that BELONG - I suppose the best example I could give for a large brand that has achieved a community would be Nike and their running groups. Very diverse individuals from across the globe have come together to log their miles, compete and brag. So Nike, even though they sell shoes, has managed to create a 'belonging" to something that has its reward within the community. It was not enough that Nike put a "like" button - they understood that to create, what you term as a 'small town' they needed people to belong to something that mattered deeply to them - to engage, share, laugh, cry with other passionate runners. You can call it a small town, or a community - but I agree, it is the holy grail for marketers.
1 year ago on Customer Service: Playing by Small Town Rules
@BradShorr Actually about year and a half ago, I had an experience that tipped me over the edge, from being only frustrated about the lack of insight over the relationship build to an action state. I was invited by a small start up company to speak to a group of people about a book I wrote. They wanted an non-invested third party to basically talk about the concept they were selling. I prepared, rehearsed, flew to Dallas and did my schtick. After the presentation, the 7 young partners congratulated themselves and were very excited as we headed off to dinner. At a restaurant, the first thing everyone did, was pull out their phones. They each checked their messages for 20 minutes. No talking. Just moving their thumbs staring intently. Two of them actually made calls while the waiter came back twice. I sat in amazement just watching. At one point during dinner, one fellow even passed his phone around the table so we could all listen to a message he had received. After I flew home, the next day, I was expecting an email (or heaven forbid, a phone call) thanking me for speaking. Nope. Nothing. not that day, or the next, or ever.
The behavior and lack of business etiquette from these young business people outraged me. I am sure they just don't know any better. They had an idea, they got some money and they opened for business. I have been on a mission ever since and am about to launch a new niche networking site called indie.bz - a site where we use Dunbar's Number and only allow 150 contacts, encourage a resource build network and provide a front porch community where information, articles and experience is an every day thing. Maybe you would consider lending your voice and experience in some way to help independents and small businesses - god knows we are depending on them to grow our economy and eventually some of them will grow their little companies to be giants. Shall I keep in touch?
1 year ago on 7 Ways Marketers Can Learn from Sales Reps
Ha! You have already started the relationship build process. You asked me the four most important words in the English language - "what do I think?"
The challenge for independents is they typically come from a "process" background - ie they have a particular skill set they turn into a business (or in the case or real entrepreneurs no skill set). That is why I found your post so interesting. Not many people are great at sales. But without that skill set - they struggle with the concepts you mentioned in your post. I think that independents, in the back of their minds, still want to sell you something, so they "pretend" to listen, to give out free white papers etc. ask for response - but they are waiting for post #3 to pitch something. I think "we" have misled indies into this strategy. We have provided them with the click and add network - letting them believe selling is a numbers game. What we should be shouting from the rooftops (or blogtops) is that selling stuff takes time and building relationships takes time, and one person who understands and appreciates your product/service is the place you start. That building a network is actually about having resources at your disposal - not email addresses that you can pitch to. Indies have this terrific opportunity to reach a very small niche in very personal ways that big brands don't have the time or desire to do. They have the opportunity to create a tribe that loves their stuff - and from little acorns grow...
I checked out your website BTW, and if anyone knows about this crap it's gotta be you - so keep writing these interesting posts.
I would only add "Form a long term relationship." Sales people nurture the client relationship as a part of the sales process. Marketers often look at the "message" and the "brand" as a push medium. If we (marketers) tell them long enough, creatively enough - they will come. But to make them stay, marketers have the challenge of not only engaging the consumer, but making feel part of the experience of the product/service and then continuing to build the trust relationship. Not easy, but not impossible.
Yup, the big 'ol Karmic circle. As odd as the concept sounds, giving referrals get referrals. It's a really hard concept for people just starting out in business, but once they relax about finding their next job, once they realize there are lots of clients if they build a resource network, it is easier and easier to do. Once you're there though, it is a fabulous place to be. Thanks for your feedback and starting an important conversation.
1 year, 1 month ago on My Secret Sales Weapon
Actually giving a referral, if your product or service is not an exact fit, will engender more respect and a bigger commitment to your company in the long run. I asked my web designer to do a video for me, and after I outlined the parameters, he said he could do it, but he knew an associate of his that could do a better job. Now, I am more attached to him than ever, because now I know I am not his 'next invoice' I am a long term client.
Hi Danny, A bit of a brain tester this morning. Ordinary for me is doing the routine - reading books, articles, blogs, talking to associates and partners, curating information, thinking about solving a problem, dealing with endless redo's of my new site but inevitably, something someone says to me or something I read or see, makes my brain instantly see an old thing in a new way - that's extraordinary. All my extraordinary ideas have come from some kind of ordinary interaction - through reading or looking (websites, links, articles,blogs, books), through talking to someone, by watching a film. But even my most extraordinary ideas take small ordinary steps to make them viable.
1 year, 1 month ago on Redefining Ordinary or Why It’s Okay to Dream Small
Great topic Danny! I think decisions around any marketing strategy includes "What am I going to do with my $100 million this year" or "What am I going to do with my $100 this year?" Choosing TV ads, magazine advertising, national billboard advertising are rich problems. We've all seen remarkably creative ideas in the $100 category and some insanely ridiculous campaigns that cost millions. Social media and technology has democratized visibility for products, services and ideas allowing very small companies and independents the opportunity to showcase their goods and services like never before. I wonder if James Ready Beer had a $100M budget would have come up with the same campaign, and what they did when they only had 100 bucks?
I agree with your most enlightened crew this morning. Thanks!
1 year, 2 months ago on You Don’t Always Need 100 Million Dollars or 100 Years for Traditional Advertising to Work
I don't disagree that you have captured the essence of being loyal and building loyalty - all good, as my Aussie friends would say (actually a really good thought provoking post). And I would have finished my Sunday morning coffee, had the word "fiercely" not shown up.
1 year, 2 months ago on If You Want Fierce Loyalty, You Need To Be Fiercely Loyal First
I am a bit concerned about the phrase "fierce loyalty." You have tossed this phrase in, as if a blogger, or brand, just by asking people what matters to them and then catering to them on a consistent basis will get a group of people who will remain fiercely loyal. I think fierce loyalty is a category that belongs to people/causes/ideas that impact your life in a real way - I can be fiercely loyal to my mate or to my friends (or my dog), and fiercely loyal to my non-profit to raise money and awareness for sick children - but I am I fiercely loyal to my BMW or to a favorite blogger? I can be loyal to a cause - but fiercely loyal means I want to defend the cause - I walk the talk - I raise money, I write my congressman, I get involved. I think there is merit in the topic of how to get a more loyal following for your brand, but I think there is a bit of hyperbole in your post.
As an entrepreneur for 30 years, i think one of the hardest ships to sail is entreprenuership. I hope you have a lot of young people who subscribe, because when you enter these waters, a good compass is essential. Thank you for writing and engaging.
1 year, 2 months ago on Top 10 Most Important Lessons from 13 Years as an Entrepreneur