One idea, 54 hours: Startup Weekenders build real company - Commercial Appeal
Memphis Startup Weekend Blog
Launch Memphis Flickr Photostream
Social Media Breakfast - The 3rd Memphis Social Media Breakfast happens on Wednesday, May 7th at 7:30 AM. Presented by LunaWeb, Social Media Breakfast is an event where social media experts and newbies can come together over breakfast to learn, share ideas and meet other marketers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and new media fanatics. You can find out more information and topics at Social Media Memphis Facebook Group or through the LunaWeb Blog.
TechFuel: Technology Meets Cocktails - Presented by LaunchMemphis, TechFuel is a kick-off event designed for technologists, entrepreneurs, media (bloggers), investors, and others to meet, and share ideas in a fun and open atmosphere. The event is open to the public and includes free food and drink specials. TechFuel is set for 5-7 p.m. May 8 at the Fox and Hound, 5101 Sanderlin Ave.
Startup Weekend Memphis - Startup Weekend is slated for the weekend of May 30th - June 1st. Over the course of the weekend, 100 members of the community come together weekend to found a new technology startup company in Memphis. At last count, I think there were a little over 20 seats still available for Startup Weekend Memphis. $40 is a small price to pay for the ability to work with some amazing people and the opportunity to take home a piece of a startup at the end of 3 days.
Understanding the UnConferences
100 Idea Topics for You to Cover at PodCamp
What is BarCamp?
Updated - Social Media Breakfast #1 Flickr Photoset ~ Official Social Media Breakfast page ~ LunaWeb
In all, there are about 400 online marketers in attendance so lots of great networking opportunities. During the Q&A session for an advanced paid-search presentation (advanced was a very loose term at this particular presentation) I was speaking to the lady who happened to sit next to me. She pointed out something very interesting trends in the questions coming from the audience. Everyone wanted the magic pill. They wanted actionable and measurable things that they could do right now in order to be successful. The waters are so murky in the online marketing world that these people are in over there heads and don't know who to trust. They read one thing, but the data tells them another thing. They're on short budgets and need results fast. The sad thing I realized is that things are better than they used to be, but I don't see them clearing up anytime soon.
Hopefully next week, I'll be able to share with you my findings and give you some great insight that you can actually use right now in your day-to-day business. Stay tuned.
Meeting Leader - "Mr. Executive wants our official corporate MySpace page to have all our friends turned off (this isn't even an option) so people can't add us as a friend or even comment on our page."
Web Guy Who Gets It - "That's like removing search from Google."
I know Social Networking and Social Media is scary to some. There are huge risks to many organizations, but there are also a wealth of opportunities. What do you do when the person in charge doesn't get it? How do you show value in creating a conversation amongst your fans?
Five Starter Moves for Introducing Social Media Into Your Organization
How To: Effectively Talk to Execs and Clients about Social Media
I write this site for you; your feedback helps me shape what I post and give my attention to over the next year. Leave a comment, contact me or drop me an email with your thoughts.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
The best time to change the game is when you're losing and behind.
Looks like Paramount is one of the first studios to take the plunge by offering the new Jackass movie free online. It may not be the best content or optimal situation, but at least it's a start.
No Writers at the Network? - People Powered Media takes off!
NY Times - Web Videos Stealing TV Viewers, and Marketers
What this means for you?
- We no longer need to have a MySpace strategy, a LinkedIn strategy, etc, but rather we can develop one application or widget that can be accessed throughout all services. A standard API will greatly reduce development time.
- Harness existing communities. We don’t have to go out and build an audience, but rather we can leverage what’s already there.
- Combined, the core group of networks involved represents over 100MM subscribers.
- The open API was just released yesterday, so bugs may occur
- Inconsistencies may emerge – not all applications may behave the same across all platforms
- No two networks are the same. LinkedIn and MySpace have 2 different user bases.
- Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft haven’t bought in yet.
Wired covers the aspects of Open Social
Open Social FAQ's
All the Children are Insane courtesy of Magnus Kjall
Congrats Radio Head for being the first to break the mold! You're gonna make tons of money from this.
Who is Consumer 2.0?
- Addicted to Leisure - They work hard, but they also expect a certain amount of work/life balance. They expect products and brands to conform to both aspects of their day. They want their phone to sync with Outlook while also keeping tabs of their Facebook profile.
- Create and share content - In their own eyes, they're a rockstar. They twitter, pownce, blog and YouTube everything in their life. If they like it, they share it.
- Always connected and love information - They subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds, have thousands of friends online, never leave home without their iPod or their web-enabled phone. These consumers can find what they're looking for in a drop of hat (and expect it as well).
- Hypertaskers - Forget David Allen, these consumers chat online, play games, stream music and send text messages all while watching TV. In a survey produced by Yahoo!, 60% of 18-34 year olds said they surfed the web while watching TV.
- Love to be part of communities - They have multiple social network accounts and use them all on a regular basis.
- Listen to them. - They are more than willing to tell you what they think of your product, if you simply ask. Use them as your guinea pigs for new ideas and improvements on old ones.
- Collaborate with them. Just as Stromhoek, a small vineyard who collaborated with bloggers to create a grass roots initiative, so should you. Respond to their online posts and comments, answer their emails one at a time and take the initiative to create 'wow' experiences in your store. If you scratch their back, they'll scratch yours as well.
- Give them the tools to share. Create an online toolbox in which users can remix your brand to meet their style. Include RSS feeds, pictures, videos, music, Facebook applications, custom t-shirts and everything else they could use to evangelize your product.
So how does Search Engine Marketing tie back to Consumer 2.0? Well, because Consumer 2.0 is so intrenched and dialed in on a regular basis, they've developed a small case of ADD. Nearly 72% of people answered that they cannot recall URL's that appeared on TV spots. Therefore, not only should you do the things I've mentioned above to gain attention online, but you should also work to control those things you do have power over.
Your search engine marketing must include using appropriate keywords so Consumer 2.0 can find your brand, creating lots of relevant content, making sure your pages are user-friendly and have appropriate titles and descriptions just to name a few. Consumers expect brand leaders to consistently be in the top results of search and I can guarantee that many will look at a site because it was one of the first results regardless if it was what they were looking for or not. Great search engine marketing increases your brand familiarity, pumps up your brand consideration, improves customer satisfaction and results in a better brand experience.
Integrating Consumer 2.0 into your marketing plans and tweaking your search engine marketing will allow you to close the loop on your customers and engage advocates. I guarantee that if you implement the above to a tee, you will see much success online and off.
CASH courtesy of *mgwinc
In short, Stormhoek, hired Hugh MacLeod to promote their products through his site, GapingVoid.com. Stromhoek believed that MacLeod's following of tech geeks would be the perfect match as they shared the same single-minded passions as wine enthusiasts do. MacLeod offered a free bottle of the wine to any blogger who asked so long as they were of legal drinking age and had been blogging for a minimum of 3 months. Bloggers were asked to write a post on the Stromhoek wine experience without any obligations. The post didn't have to mention the name of the company or even reflect a positive review.
At the end of the 6 month experiment, nearly 100 bloggers posted related items or comments. MacLeod capitalized by using his online celebrity to organize "geek dinners" for the bloggers in Britain, Spain, France and in the United States. Stromhoek's sales have jumped nearly six-fold over that time. They expect to push about a million cases annually within three years, up from their 50,000 cases a year worldwide now. The total cost of the campaign over the 2 years came out to about $40,000 which is remarkably cheap considering the amount of publicity and sales conversions the promotion added. To top off the success, Ad Age named the Stromhoek strategy one of the top 50 marketing campaigns in 2006. Not bad for a bunch of bloggers.
How does the promotion and strategy that Stromhoek pulled off differ from your company's plans?
Stromhoek - Gave their small niche audience something to talk about. On a volunteer basis, their customers chose to read their advertisements and PR. They had the permission of each person they came in contact with to market their product to them.
Your Company - Force your story and splatter your advertisements across as many mediums and over as many people as you can afford. Yes, some of the crowd may already know about your product and yes, you may gain a few new supporters in the process, but the probability and conversion rate is very low. You don't engage your customer or find out who they really are which in turn costs you more money down the line as well.
Stromhoek - Created a true grass-roots / word-of-mouth customer program. They were transparent and clear with their intentions. They asked permission from their customers. They didn't interfere or do the song and dance to get attention.
Your Company - Fakes a grass-roots campaign. You have a lackadaisical MySpace or FaceBook page (so does everyone else), but your customers can see right through your futile attempts.
Stromhoek - Built a marketing strategy on-line and off. They correlated and had a similar function and feel to them.
Your Company - Lucky if you can get the group that develops the online collateral and marketing plan in the same room with the group that is responsible for the print pieces.
Stromhoek - Let their customers be their guinea pigs. They tested outside of the lab and gave free samples. They took their customers advice and made changes as necessary.
Your Company - Test, test, test in the lab, but still end up being surprised when your product fails in the market. You know what your research tells you. Customers don't know what they want.
Mixed Media courtesy of mgwinc
Seth Godin - Permission Marketing
Made to Stick - Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
More than ever our country is ready for a change. A large majority of people have been dissatisfied with the way our country has been run the past 7 years. The candidates we've elected in the past are no longer working. These people (customers) are ready for a dramatic change. When things get pushed to the brink as they are now and people decide they can no longer take it, they are more open for dramatic change. That's why I truly believe that Hillary and Barack have such a great chance at winning the Democrat bid (and Presidential election) more than any other time in history.
It's not about race or gender anymore (regardless of what people say...don't get me started on this), but rather the person who is so far removed from your current situation and who is willing to represent your interests the best and can get the job done. Voting for these two Democratic front-runners is no longer a stretch. Voters are asking themselves how much worse can things get?
How does this relate to your business or industry? Are your customers fed up with you and looking for a dramatic change or are is your business that change they are seeking? If its the former, then chances are you're already dead in the water, but if you are the latter, then I suggest doing whatever you can to get people on your side. Break down the barriers of entry. Make it easy for people to leave their current situation. Don't make them stretch.
Try these four steps to allow for easy customer adoption to your product or service:
- Flatten and shorten the learning curve customers require to get instant gratification out of the box. Take for example the iPod. Most people can open the packaging and begin using the device without even looking at a manual.
- Include a manual that is well written, indexed and contains many pictures. Understand that people learn in different ways.
- Make not only converting to your product or service easy, but also switching from your product. Users that don't have to take the leap of faith just to use your product will be more likely to adapt and bring friends along with them.
- Test your product on your Grandma.
Guy Kawasaki - The Art of the Start
Another Great Wave courtesy of Chinup
How do you improve customer retention and loyalty? Do you customers have a voice? If that's hard for you to answer, go to Google and search for terms such as "I love", "I hate", "I like", "I didn't like" including your brand in the query (i.e. " I love One Half Amazing"). If they're not venting on your site, then it's probably coming out in public.
eMarketer - Customer Reviews Increase Web Sales
Church of the Customer Blog
The one thing that is clear is the communication that these 'popular' brands have with their customers. So how do you create customer evangelists representing your brand that are willing to shout your message from the top of a mountain? How do you fill you house people knocking down the door rather than throwing eggs at your windows?
These are the customers that comment on nearly every article you post to your blog, are the first to sign up for beta testing and are constantly e-mailing you about your product. Evangelists believe in your product just as much as you do and would gladly spread your gospel, so your first priority is to get up the gumpshun and simply ask them to take on and represent your endeavor. Being as transparent as possible ensures that everyone is represented fairly and intentions are layed out prior to actions. The last thing you want to do is turn an evangelist into an opponent over a small misrepresentation.
Each person will have a little different style about them that may not always mesh with the standard manner your Communications department could like to be represented - THIS SHOULDN'T MATTER! In my opinion, the key is that they utimately believe in you and your cause or mission. Their background, popularity or influence can be ignored. Beggars can't be choosers as the old adage states.
Building customer evangelists isn't a one-stop shop, but rather a relationship that must be respected and nurished. Ensure that you nuture these relationships. Give them things that they will value. Respond to their desires by modifying your product or service from the feedback they give you. Showing that you actually value them and their hard work along with responding to their concerns will only add fuel to the evangelizing fire.
Brains on Fire - Cycle of a Fan
Church of the Customer Blog - Corporate Evangelism vs. Customer Evangelism
Jackie Huba 2003 keynote presentation on Creating Customer Evangelists