Thursday, October 29, 2009

Influencing the Influencers: Webcast w/ Atkins & Author, Jill Griffin

You all know that I love to do webinars. Well, there's a very cool one coming up next month on Thursday, November 12 (2 PM CT) with one of my friends (and sometimes podcast companion), Jill Griffin. Jill is a local Austinite and a three time author. Her main focus is customer loyalty. We'll also be joined by client and social savant, Allen Silkin of Atkins Nutritionals.

You can get all the details on the sign up page but essentially, these are the five areas we'll be covering:
  • Four ways to tell if a customer in your advocate
  • How to climb Advocacy Hierarchy
  • Why complainers must be managed and how to do it
  • 9 ways to minimize detractors and maximize advocates
  • How to get online communities spreading your good name

Three Worthy Causes/Events

As an individual, one of the things that comes with influence and reach is social responsibility. I've tried to use mine wisely although I probably could be accused of not doing enough of it. To that end, I've got a triple shot of social causes on my plate right now that I'd like you to consider supporting -- either monetarily, via your social networks/blogs or through your time.

I know, I know... we get pounded a dozen times a day to support a variety of causes. And please understand that I'm not asking you to support all of these causes (although that wouldn't suck if you did). Just to think about doing something little or big for any of the three. Here are the details:

Race for the Cure Tweetup (November 1)
This one comes courtesy of Simon Salt who will be participating in the 12th Annual Komen Austin Race for the Cure®. I hope to get down and walk with Simon but if not, you can bet that I'll be sending some cash his way (and some tweets of support. I hope that you will join me.

To get involved, please consider registering as part of Simon's team or through a donation. The money raised through the Race will fund vital education, screening and treatment programs for underserved women in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties and support the national search for the cures.

If you prefer, mail your donation today to:
Komen Austin P.O. Box 2164 Austin, TX 78768.
Please make your check payable to:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure and add "Simon Salt" in the memo

Austin Non Profit Camp (November 14)
Austin Non Profit Camp is a free, facilitated and participant driven conference that will be the place in Austin for non profits to learn and troubleshoot their technology problems in a supportive, collaborative setting. The event is being spearheaded by David J. Neff, Jon Lebkowsky, Maggie Duval and Matt Glazer. Their goal is to take the successful Bar Camp model and apply it to expand understanding and awareness of free and Open Source technology within the non-profit community in Central Texas.

How It Works
Non profits and technology folks come together to have conversations about the issues that they face in a no sales, no cost environment. They bring tech experts together with nonprofits in a context that will facilitate mutual understanding.

In addition to scheduled speakers, attendees will have the option to sign up to speak about issues and solutions they know best. [Note from Aaron - my goal is to drop by to run one of the unconference sessions]

Nonprofit attendees collaboratively problem solve issues they face with running and promoting their organizations, workshopping with local technologists about the latest and most effective technologies and methodologies. These conversations will help nonprofits filter what’s useful from what’s not and keep their organizations humming and on track.

Google Apps, Data Exchange/Salesforce, Google Grants, Social Media, Marketing, Cloud Computing, Email Marketing, Fundraising in Social Media, ZERO COST Infrastructure, ROI of The Cloud

Event Details 
Date: November 14th
Time: 10:00 a.m. - :00 p.m.
Location: ACC Eastview Campus
3401 Webberville Road

Register here

Movember (month of November)
What could be better than growing mustaches, a healthy competition and raising money for men's health (and in particular, prostate/testicular cancer). Check out the Movember home page here. There are three ways you can help us out:

  1. Join our team and help us raise money.
  2. Donate to our team
  3. Pass the good word along about what we're doing via tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts.
More details will unfold in a separate blog post but I'll be joining forces with some of my Austin peeps Kyle Flaherty, Tim WalkerTim HaydenDavid Armano, Chris Carter, Doug Wick, Chris Anderson, David Neff, Wesley Faulkner, Tim Schmelter, Heather Strout and Simon Salt. Hopefully we'll get Bryan Person, William HurleyPeter Kim along with some other Austin studs (and/or studettes) to battle with the boys in Boston.

Weekly Social Marketing Links: Week of 10/28

Cross-posted on Powered's blog

Yup. It's been a few week's since we last posted our team's weekly social marketing links. As some of you know, I try and do a weekly digest of the links that my team (marketing, sales and product) come up with for our recurring staff meeting. Unfortunately, (work) life just gets in the way sometimes. Here's what we've got for this week:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)

Found How to Do Social Marketing in Heavily Regulated Industries to be an interesting read on how regulated industries such as Financial Services, Healthcare and Pharma should tap into social marketing and how best to do it. The thinking is that since social marketing is a “pull” technique and not a “push” technique (where traditional regulations apply), advertisers and marketers in regulated industries should focus on…wait for it…wait for it…listening to consumers on social networks to gather research and insight (doesn’t everyone say that these days?). The author also goes on to state that for pharma (look in comments), marketers should be thinking about conversations around the disease versus the actual drugs (which is where they can get into trouble). All in all, an interesting perspective.

DP Rabalais (Marketing)

This article from Adweek, The Revolution Will Be Mobile, talks about how the worldwide adoption of mobile phones (61% of the world's population has access to a mobile phone) is influencing how marketers connect with consumers. Mobile Internet usage in the U.S. has more than doubled in barely two years, and mobile communities are emerging.

According to the article, "For a brand that would like to learn more about what its customers and potential customers want, social networks via mobile are the perfect platform with massive scale. The Japanese mobile community "Mobage Town," for example, includes 12 million people. Anyone who wants to can listen in or join discussions, and anyone who wants to sell a product or service is enabled to do so."

Bill Fanning (BizDev)

This week’s post was written by Francois Gossieaux titled, Why Brand Communities Don’t Exist. Notice he refers to “Brand” communities, not “Branded” communities. To be clear, when we say “Branded” communities we are referring to where the community is hosted (on the brands site as opposed to Facebook or other external communities) not to the Brand being the topic of the community.

Francois makes a very important point (one that we at Powered built a business on) that people don’t participate in branded communities simply because they like the brand and enjoy their products. They participate because they are passionate about the lifestyle associated with the brand. The community gives them a place to get valuable information, interact with other people with similar interests and engage with the company. He notes several examples like the communities hosted by Harley, Jeep, Mini Cooper and Fiskars….we could add several others as well.

Good post!

Doug Wick (BizDev)

[Okay, so Doug has been up to his eyeballs with RFP's, contracts and keeping his blogging hat on. So I'm going to include his most recent post on Powered as his entree of the week...]

Almost anyone who knows anything about interfacing with customers or prospective customers through the Networks (Facebook, Twitter, et al.) will tell you that you should start by listening.

So most marketers' first step is to set up a monitoring tool (maybe expensive, maybe as simple as a free keyword search on Twitter). Then, the first experience that almost every media marketer (or marketer, period) has after listening to the Networks for a bit is that the brand, product, or company they are representing will be mentioned. When this happens (“just bought a Honda at Carmax, great experience!”), it will make a positive and socially important impression on everyone who views it. This is exciting because it is essentially a free media placement, a nugget of gold dropped into people's news or Twitter feeds that didn’t cost you anything! This type of mention is often called “earned media,” earned because your company created a great customer experience that made someone tell their friends.

Jay MacIntosh

The Tribalization of Business Study (2009) by Deloitte and Beeline Labs.

Disclaimer: I don’t understand why anyone would refer to a group of people sharing an interest as tribes. I’ve always thought of tribes, similar to the clans of my Scottish background, as having to do with ancestry (i.e. people who came before us like forefathers/mothers). Do we really need to “dress-up” social media to get more people to pay attention to the significance of the online social phenomena? I guess so…

Anyhow, this recently released study from Deloitte paints a broad picture of where companies are at with their adoption of social media. As suspected, backed up by the conversations I’ve had with over 50 such companies the past several months, I’d say they’re at the preadolescent stage. Characterized by - beginning to care somewhat about if/how they fit in, have a rough idea of some goals, more focused on the future, beginning to care about how their appearance, etc.

I won’t go into the details (which you’ll get in the 10 minutes it takes you to look through the 28 slides), but here are a couple of the most interesting findings:
  • It looks like only about 20% of these communities have members in the thousands.
  • Approximately 60% of their company’s oldest community have been in existence for less than 1 year.
  • Stated goals (i.e. what they want to achieve) and metrics (i.e. how they keep score) are out of whack.
  • 45% plan to increase their investment in social media and online communities while only 6% plan to decrease investment.

Don Sedota (Product)

Good perspectives by Jeremiah Owyang on the Google/Twitter/Bing deal announced earlier last week. Basically Google and Bing will now start incorporating URL tweets/re-tweets and the influence/reach of corresponding tweeters into search rankings (i.e., consumers now have a direct impact on search rankings).

His key takeaways include:
  • Companies must focus even more on listening to make sure PR flare ups and the like on Twitter are quickly extinguished
  • It’s becoming increasingly important for companies offer easy social sharing (e.g., via Twitter) for site content. (Also of note is that Facebook will be offering public status updates to Bing so sharing via FB/FBC becomes more valuable to companies from a search results perspective)
  • Companies must continue to develop in-house influencers on Twitter in order to juice the search rankings of corresponding tweets (URLs)

How about you? Any good articles/posts/research to share? We're always looking for fresh inspiration.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick-n-dirty Podcast Recap 20: With Guest Host, Cathy Brooks

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to try out a guest host on the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show. My usual partner-in-crime, Jennifer Leggio, was originally supposed to be on a plane during our normal Thursday time slot although her plans changed and she ultimately ended up sticking around. This led to some funny podcast-a-trois when we invited Jen to call into the show during the last 10 minutes.

In Jen's place, Iwas lucky to have the talented and socially adept, Cathy Brooks, as my guest host and fortunately, she did not disappoint. Cathy and I had met a few times before in real life (SXSW and Jeff Pulver's 140 Character Conference in NYC) so I had a pretty good sense of her style. To that end, Cathy's wit and charm helped as we stuck to the shows regular format -- and in this case, brought on TWO guests versus our normal one.

We kicked off the show with our usual "featured social network." In this case, it was social travel site, Tripit, a site that I am a big fan of. As a side note, the folks from Tripit were doing a good job "listening" and reached out to me after the fact to ask if I might be interested in interviewing their co-founders. Suffice to say, you'll be hearing more from the folks at Tripit in the not-to-distant-future.

Our special guestS (yes, two of them) were none other than Gradon Tripp and Meg Fowler, founders of Social Media for Social Change, a great organization that applies the best of the world of social to the non-profit world. Gradon and Meg not only talked about how their organization had raised a decent amount of cash for good causes but how they were also helping other non-profit organizations harness the power of social. If you haven't checked out one of their events, keep an eye out for their next event in Miami Florida called @sm4scmiami.

The featured "Twitterer" of the week was Allstate's Ben Foster. As I was talking about the reasons I liked Ben's Twitter style -- great mix of human and business -- he chimed in on Twitter with this hilarious quote:

@aaronstrout Sweet! But now I feel pressure to have smart tweets and not things like Wolf Blitzer T-Shirts and Zombie Wedding Cakes :-)

And finally, we wrapped up with our traditional point / counterpoint... this time with a focus on social advertising. Of course Cathy and I couldn't resist bringing Jennifer in for this portion of the show so we had a fast and furious three way dialogue about whether companies should or shouldn't be advertising on places like Facebook. If you want to find out who chose which side, I guess you'll just have to listen into the last 10 minutes of the show.

Check out other recaps of the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show either here on or on Jen's ZDNet blog. We hope you'll listen in live next week!

Changing Filters

A few weeks ago, my friend, Ron Green (CTO of Powered in his spare time) and I were in New York on business. He and I are both iPhone app guys and we were comparing notes over dinner. One of the apps he strongly recommended was Best Camera by renowned photographer, Chase Jarvis. Chase's premise being that the "best camera" is the one that you have with you and more and more often, that happens to be the camera on one's phone.

Why am I telling you this? Because I love Best Camera's ability to create filters (a la Photoshop) for the pictures I take with my iPhone. In my case, I've always been a huge fan of black and white photography so not having this capability on the iPhone sucked. Don't get me wrong, I like color photos too but there's something about the way black and white photography adds an artistic flair to ordinary pictures.
Here are a few examples of before and after pictures in color and after I've applied Best Camera's "Paris filter which creates a black and white effect:

The Colorado River (color)

The Colorado River (black and white)

"Not the Moon" (color)

"Not the Moon" (black and
white w/ "cool" filter applied)

Cornfield (color)

Cornfield (black and white)

Right about now you're thinking, "okay Aaron, you've proven that you're at least a mediocre photographer who can hit a button that makes your color pictures black and white. So what's your point?!?" Fortunately, I do have one. And it's not just about showing off a few pictures I took with my iPhone. My point is that not only does adding a filter to my photos change the way I take pictures with my phone but it has also made taking pictures less utilitarian and more enjoyable.

The reason I took time to write a blog post about this is that changing other filters in your life can have similar (if not more significant) effects. For instance, think about shifting from watching your local network's news offering to listening to NPR's Morning Edition. Or add 50 new songs to your iPod. Or if you're into social media, try removing your 10 least favorite blogs/tweeters from your reader or Tweetdeck and adding 10 brand new people into the mix.

You obviously don't want to undertake these exercises blindly but rather do some research. I usually find that asking some good questions on Twitter:
  • what new restaurant should I try?
  • what great songs should I be listening too?
  • which people are MUST follows on Twitter or Facebook?
  • who writes an amazing marketing blog?
I've been amazed by the quality of what I get back once I change my filters.

What filters have you changed recently? Or which will you change? I'm always looking for new ones so please let me know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Driving Purchase Consideration: Podcast with Jackie Huba & Rob Harles

As part of the latest "Back to School" podcast series I do for my company, Powered Inc., our goal is to focus on the intersection of business and social. The speakers are smart people who run the gamut of bloggers, authors, analysts, journalists and business practitioners. This months flavor focuses on tapping into social to drive purchase consideration. My guests were the smart (and fun) Jackie Huba and Rob Harles. Jackie is an author and business blogger while Rob is the VP of community for a company you may have heard of called Sears.

Right-mouse click to download.

During our conversation, we covered the following topics (hat tip to Doug Haslam of SHIFT for helping me craft these interview questions):
  • Consideration may seem like the part of the buying cycle most helped by social media: agree or disagree?
  • How do we let customers “Consider?” How much of it is an active engagement (for lack of a better word) with the customer, rather than a more passive approach of letting them consider?
  • If passive is an approach, how hard is it for companies to let go and let customers do there thing, trusting they will stay in the cycle?
  • How vital is content in the consideration cycle?
    • Brand-produced vs user-produced?
    • One over the other?
    • A preferred mix ratio?
  • Types of content that work best
  • Might consideration be used as a tool to make existing customers more profitable (repeat buyers)?
  • How do you measure Consideration?
Is your company using the social web to drive purchase consideration? If so, I'd love to hear more about it.

Thanks to Jim Storer for his expert editing skills. Additional thanks to Brett Petersel for lending me the kick butt "Back to School intro and outro music." Additional thanks go to Jennifer Leggio for lending me the pic of Rob Harles.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick-n-dirty Podcast Recap 19: Live from BlogWorld Expo

Wow! What an amazing last few days it's been at Blog World Expo. It was tough to have to leave before the festivities were over but I enjoyed a whirlwind of great panels, content and podcasts while I was here in Vegas at one of the top 2-3 most important social conferences in the country.

As you can guess, one of the podcasts I got to do was with my pal and co-host of the Quick-n-Dirty show, Jennifer Leggio. The beauty of this episode was that Jennifer and I got to do the show live from the expo floor of Blog World. Even better, we were able to grab PR/social studs, Doug Haslam* of SHIFT and Steve Rubel, of Edelman and Micropersuasion blog fame.

*note: do I need to disclose that Doug works for my company, Powered Inc. in a PR capacity -- after all, we're paying him vs. the other way around? No? Good, I didn't think so. Just checkin'.

Rather than doing our regular format of:
  1. Social network
  2. Guest/case study
  3. Featured twitterer of the week
  4. Point/counterpoint
we went freestyle and discussed Jen's and my panels at the show. Highlights included:
  • A recap of the fact that we both agreed that her "sponsored content" panel could have been a seminal discussion but instead just ended up being really good (not a bad thing). Part of the problem was that Jeremiah Owyang, formerly of Forrester and now at Altimeter Group worked hard to *protect* the panelists. While this was likely the right thing to do, it did prevent some of the sparks from flying that the crowd really wanted to see. For what it's worth, Jeremiah and I discussed this over drinks the night before so don't think I'm talkin' behind his back. ;)
  • Jen's review of her featured morning session about not letting the bad guys "Jack your brand." This connected more with Jen's security roots (day job) vs. her ZDNet blog (spare time) focused on social business. I suspect that Jen will do a recap on her blog but what I really liked was that she allowed audience members to come up and co-present with her reinforcing her "social" side.
  • We also did a quick review of my morning panel on "Gaming Twitter" and why it's not a good idea. To get details, head over to hashtag #twitgame as several of us in the room (myself included) live tweeted this event and caught a majority of the salient points on Twitter. For what it's worth, I was blown away but the smarts of fellow co-panelists Reem Abeidoh, Lucretia Pruitt, Micah Baldwin and Jesse Stay.
As I mentioned earlier, we did stray from our normal show format. However, we were able to bring some fresh insight to the podcast via our special guests. The fun part was that due to our limit of two headsets, Jen interviewed Doug Haslam and I interviewed Steve Rubel. I strongly encourage you to listen to this part of the show [about 20-25 minutes in] but here is the gist of what we discussed:

  • Jennifer and Doug talked about the fact that PR wasn't dead but *evolved*. PR firms that weren't doing it right risked becoming irrelevant. As a client of SHIFT's (there goes that disclosure again), I can tell you that he and his team definitely get it. There was one other topic that they covered but because I couldn't hear them real-time, I'll need to go back and listen to [FILL IN THE BLANK].
  • Steve and I rehashed his panel yesterday on life streaming [recap on my blog here]. In particular, I asked Steve how easy it was (knowing the answer was, "not very) to take clients form "you should be doing social" to focusing on his three pillars of "create spoke and hub content/destinations, become ubiquitous/ searchable and be sure to diversify." We also touched on whether or not it was a good idea to turn off comments on Youtube.
All in all, Jen and I were probably a little less scripted and buttoned up than usual but it was a hell of a lot of fun. To that end, a great big hat tip to Deb Robison for being the sole active chat room attendee. She rocks!

For past recaps of the show, you can always bounce back and forth between Jen's and my blogs. And of course, you can always catch an archived version of the show here or over on iTunes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sponsored Content: Right or Wrong

Great panel at BlogWorld Expo focused on the controversial topic of sponsored content. Jim Turner, Jason Falls and Rick Calvert nailed the participants for this one (although it would have been nice to have either Chris Brogan or one of Wal-mart's Eleven Mom's on the panel). Either way, here they are:

Jeremiah frames the conversation by asking the audience who was pro and con sponsored content. The audience asked for clarification and following that, Jeremiah gave eight examples of sponsored content. After he read these, he re-asked the question and a lot more people were in favor of sponsored content than first go around.

[breaking news via Howard Greenstein: IAB has asked FTC to rescind their ruling due to unfair treatment of online and offline. Here is AdWeek's take.]

Effective as of 12/1/09, here is the high-level overview of the FTC's ruling:

  • the new FTC's recent ruling is actually a clarification of a law that has been on the books since 1980 but have recently been reinterpreted by the FTC to cover bloggers. Some of the clarifications included in the recent ruling touch on:
    • According to the FTC, an endorsement is defined as "any advertising message that consumers are likely to believe reflect the experiences other than the sponsor."
    • Whether the speaker was compensated (including goods)
    • Was it given to you for free
    • Terms of any agreement
    • Length of relationship
    • Value
  • FTC is holding equally liable the sponsor and the endorser if it is believed that false advertising/influence is applicable
  • The FTC is comfortable with sponsored content if proper disclosures are put in place.
Jennifer Leggio:
  • Wants to clarify that her stance is that she doesn't believe that while she's against sponsored content, she does see some opportunities where it might be tasteful/appropriate. It can run the risk of damaging a blogger or brands reputation.
Wendy Piersall:
  • She agrees with Jennifer but thinks that there are a lot of opportunities where sponsored conversations are appropriate. However, she agrees that it once one "plays the game," one has to be careful about how future non-sponsored messages are interpreted.
Ted Murphy:
  • Given the fact that his company, Izea, focuses their business model on sponsored content, it's not hard to guess where his alliances lie. However, Ted did add that he believes that all bloggers should add disclosure to their blogs in a clear, concise fashion.
There was way more to this than what I've covered here but this should give you a flavor of the conversation. For more details, there was actually a separate hashtag -- #sponblog -- that Jeremiah ran for this session. All in all, a very interesting topic.

Lifestreaming with Steve Rubel at BlogWorldExpo

Some "life-streamed" notes from Steve Rubel, SVP at Edelman. from the BlogWorld Expo. He's talking about the evolution of the "inbox" e.g. e-mail, sms, IM, Twitter, FourSquare. [Note: you get a sense that this session is of high value given the fact that Louis Gray, David ArmanoShell Holtz, David Thomas and Jason Falls to name a few "big brains" are in the room taking copious notes.]

  • Steve's off to a good start telling us to "avoid the shiny object syndrome" and focus on the big trends (vs. the individual tools).
  • Businesses need to think about how they can engage in real time
  • All sites in next 5 years need social capabilities or will become irrelevant
  • Web sites in general will become less relevant.
  • People are starting to practice "selective ignorance." Screening out more and more news.
  • People are also becoming media agnostic. Just want the news that they want and many times will hear it from friends.
  • 111 is the average number of domains an average person in the U.S. visits in a month
  • On average, 2,500 web pages visited/month
  • We are becoming addicted to short-form content (this helped Twitter - centralized and short form)
  • Jakob Nielsen (usability guru) found the people read 20% of web pages
  • People need to hear things 3-5 times before they can actually digest them
Interesting because Steve has blogged for a long time and used to do 3-5 posts/day (every day for 3 1/2 years). Once Twitter came out, that evolved to 3-5 times/week. Then with FriendFeed, that continued to evolve. He got to the point where he felt like his blog was irrelevant. And then Posterous came along. The beauty is that everything is "e-mailable" and could put it content in a centralized place but could also get cross-posted in the respective places (like Twitter or Flickr) if he wants. [Note: I signed up for Posterous a few months ago but haven't done a whole lot other than use it for inbound.]

Cool tip. Steve uses a tool called Simply Tweet and anything that he writes that is over 140 characters gets posted on Posterous with a link cross-posted on Twitter.

Big question? What does this mean for brands and how do they cope with all the streams. Steve's three recommendations are:
  • You have to be ubiquitous
    • Steve uses Posterous to do this
    • Create "hub and spoke" strategy: build "embassies" everywhere blog, Facebook, Twitter
    • Ford has done a nice job of this. You can all their content in a centralized place OR you can get it out on the individual social networks
  • Muliplicity and diversity
    • Obama campaign uses different sites/formats to tell stories different ways at different times (Flickr, Youtube, blogs)
  • Discoverability and visibility
    • Traditional PR has been the process of creating "rain" and trying to get people "wet."
    • Ironically, people have going to the beach to "get wet" (Google) for several years now
    • Goal is to get people to "pull" your content vs. always pushing content
    • Life stream is great because it's highly discoverable
    • Creating "discoverable" content makes for great SEO juice
All in all, great content. It's rare that I learn a whole lot at events like these (mainly because Twitter is such a great fountain of information) but this was a great session that now has me thinking. Thanks Steve!

post script: a few reasons why Steve loves Posterous:

  • content is all exportable (this is huge)
  • customer service is phenomenal
  • allow him to overlay it with his own domain -
  • because he e-mails everything in from gmail, he has a backup for everything on gmail.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slides from my Presentation at Driving Sales Exec Summit

Today I had the privilege of speaking in front of 150 VERY smart folks from the automotive industry at an event called the DrivingSales Executive Summit. Many work in large auto dealerships and have started using social media in a number of innovative ways. Equally exciting was the opportunity to meet folks like JD Rucker, Eric Miltsch, Gary May and Jared Hamilton to name a few. Oh yeah, some dude named Chris Brogan also showed up to speak. I was like, "whatever."

To see the Twitter back channel from the event, head over here.

Hat tip to Sylvia Marino and Kyle Flaherty for helping supply some of the case study content.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't Put Me in a Bucket, Yo! Live from #IMS09

I'm here at the Inbound Marketing Summit in lovely Foxborough, MA (yup, the home of the New England Patriots). This is the fifth occurrence of the event and second time in the Boston area. I am proud to say that I've attended four out of the five and this is by far the best attended out of the five. The focus of the event is on harnessing the power of things like social marketing, media and search engine optimization.

My original intention was to blog several of the panels but as you can see, it's nearly 3:00 PM ET and this is my first one. Oh well, that's what happens when you run into a group of about 100 people that you haven't seen in a while and you need to do some catching up. Fortunately, I saved the cream of the crop for you and I'm kicking this off with a friend and super smart guy, CC Chapman.

CC's talk is on "buckets" or more importantly, the importance of not putting people into buckets (he used an example of him being announced as a "daddy blogger" -- arguably, it's something he does but it's not what he wants to be categorized as. Too many times today, he sees people getting put in buckets, especially as they become well known for a particular facet of their social prowess (podcasting, daddy/mommy blogging, photography skills, etc.) This is interesting because another good friend, Melanie Notkin, founder and principal of, has shared similar frustrations when she's been billed as "a blogger."

In both cases, neither CC nor Melanie were trying to distance themselves from the world of blogging, but rather for being pigeonholed into one particular category. This is particular important when you think about pitching a blogger, reporter or podcaster.

p.s. the reason I chose this photo is that I had a burger with CC at 5 Brothers today lunch. I couldn't resist.

The Wonderful, the Lovely, Jenny Cisney of Kodak

Jenny Cisney isn't just your average, "I was in marketing and got asked to man our Twitter and blog accounts" corporate blogger. In fact, she's actually been blogging longer than many of today's well known bloggers because she's been doing her thing since 2000. For this reason, she has a deep knowledge and understanding and it shows in her social activities.

At today's Inbound Marketing Summit in Foxborough, MA, we got to hear from Jenny as she talked about how she and the company she works for, Eastman Kodak (heard of them -- yup, they were they invented the digital camera). She only had 20 minutes to talk but she covered some cool topics. Here are a few pulled straight from the #ims09 Twitter stream:
  • @pgillin: @KodakCB says Twitter helps Kodak sell high-end equipment to businesses. #ims09
  • @rhappe: Simple & effective idea for convincing execs - give them a beta/comp of the types of things you are planning #ims09
  • @MSchechter Brand, schmand... You can't develop a relationship with a brand, only with a person. #ims09
  • @justinlevy: Use twitter for product development. Kodak did when it made the Zi8. #ims09
  • @eWayDirect: @kodakcb tells us they will be hiring a chief listener #ims09 - interesting potential new role at other big companies
  • @miketrap: Kodak Chief Blogger: "I'm not shy about my personal life. I'm really all puppies and cupcakes, which works for the brand." #ims09
  • @jayatkins: Kodak connects with their audience on multiple platforms - check it out #ims09
What I can tell you is that Kodak (a Powered Inc. client) is a smart bunch and Jenny is a clear example of their social prowess. If you don't follow them @KodakCB, their CMO, @JeffreyHayzlett or their director of digital, @TomHoehn, you should.

If you want to check out the scrap booking community that we just launched for them, you can see it here:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick-n-dirty Podcast Recap 17: Yelp-ing it Up

I have a rule with e-mail. It's called the 2 minute/2 week rule. You can probably guess what the rule is but if not, it means that I try and respond to most e-mails within 2 minutes. The reason being, if I don't get to it in 2 minutes, it usually sits in my inbox until I'm on a plane so you get a response 2 weeks later.

The reason I bring my "rule" up is that I'm taking that approach with today's Quick-n-Dirty podcast wrap up. I'm hustling a little bit because I have to leave in 45 minutes to pick friends up at the airport. We're going to the Austin City Limits music festival this weekend so if I don't do this now, you won't get the recap until Monday or Tuesday of next week.

With that as a caveat [ahem, excuse] for my pithiness, onto to the deets. Oh, remember that you can always download these podcasts on iTunes, listen to show archives here or find recaps of past episodes on this blog and co-host, Jennifer Leggio's Feeds blog on ZDNet focused on social business.

Highlights from this week's show:
  • Featured Social Network: Gowalla. The easy way to describe it is that it's a FourSquare knock off but don't just take my word for it. TechCrunch did a good comparison of Gowalla and FourSquare if you're looking for a more detailed description of each. To that end, Gowalla does have some cool additional features like recommended user generated walking tours. Jennifer isn't a fan, especially because of it's wonky GPS capabilities. The jury is still out with me.
  • Special Guest: Vince Solitto, VP of Communications, Yelp. Okay, I feel a little bit bad because Jennifer and I definitely put Vince on the "Budweister hot seat" with some of our questions. Given Vince's background in politics, he seemed to handle the pressure without any problem. The one big takeaway that I didn't realize about Yelp is that only a third of their reviews/ratings are for restaurants. The rest are for services -- similar to Angie's List -- think dentists, doctors and daycare. Who knew?
  • Featured Tweeter: Simon Mainwaring. I've recently put Simon in my "Trust Tree" list on Tweetdeck -- that's the 100 or so people that I follow closely for one reason or another. The main reason Jennifer and I liked Simon as a choice is that 1 out of every 3 tweets is a link to some great report or statistic on social media, marketing or Web 2.0. Given his background (big brand/big agency), methinks he knows about that which he speaks.
  • Point / Counterpoint: This week's discussion was short and sweet. We focused on third part social networks' "ownership" of content. Jennifer said that she didn't like places like Facebook, Twitter and Ning owning some rights to her content but she went into the deal "in the know" (she reads ever word of ever terms of service). My contention is that as an individual, I don't care much that the socnets own my stuff but when it comes to business, companies should be careful. One MAJOR argument for considering a branded only community in addition to joining these places (and yes, I admitted on the show that this is a little self-serving given the fact that I work at a company that builds branded online communities). Whatever! ;)
  • Give away: we also gave away another pass to the upcoming Inbound Marketing Summit. The lucky winner was none other than Mr. Michael J. Russel for his very clever Q-n-D Haiku. Hope he can make it!
So that's it. That's the recap. Don't miss next week's show where we'll discuss the hashtag study that Jennifer conducted with our friend and fan, Deb Robison. If you haven't weighed in yet, be sure to do so. Also, we are broadcasting live from Blogworld Expo in two weeks. If you have suggestions on anyone that you think we should interview, tweet us or put your reco in the comments!