Tag Archives: marketing

Seth’s List

I’m one of those marketers who tends to hold my breath and lean in when Seth Godin talks. A business leader that I admire very much recently told me, “Seth is just a little too-out there sometimes for my taste.” Yeah, I know. And that’s why we love him and that’s why he’s great.

Today, Seth has spoken again–actually, he blogs daily it seems, so this is no surprise. But today, I’ve leaned in again, and I’m listening, and I’m pulling my credit card out. Without further ado, Seth Godin’s top reading list (so far) for 2012. Enjoy.

Twitter Marketing, and Other Social Media Insights

When I told Renee Lemley, of Gray Matter Marketing and Gray Pictures LLC, that she was a social media expert, she waved the label off and said, “no one is a social media expert.” Don’t tell Renee I said this, but I still think she is. Okay, at least she is an early user and got really good at using it pretty quick. Contrast her to me. I’m shy about updating my status on Facebook because I think I’m going to sound like a dork (and I usually do), and I frequently forget my Twitter password, and have only two Twitter contacts. Then again, sometimes I call my computer a “word processor.” Yeah. I know. That’s lame. On the upside, I do use LinkedIn daily and enjoy the network groups as a way to stay connected.

Renee Lemley has over fifteen years experience in marketing and advertising and has done it all, from consultant, to writer, producer, and yes, blogger, and she “uses Gray Matter Marketing to communicate.” I asked her a few questions on social media so I could learn more myself. Here’s how it went down with the woman I now consider my social media mentor:

AI: You are an advocate and user of social media, especially Linkedin and Twitter. Why do you think these tools are so important?

RL: I think with LinkedIn, you’re almost expected to be there. It’s easy enough to setup and I think it really works great as a digital rolodex, accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection, and as an “always-up-to-date” online resume. Twitter serves an altogether different purpose for me. It has been an incredibly useful source of business information. Add to that the people you “meet” on twitter and the speed with which the information flows and it feels more important than any other social media site I use. (NOTE: The quality of the information you pull from Twitter is determined by the people you choose to follow. So if you don’t take the time to seek out people who post valuable info—and post valuable info yourself—then I think twitter moves from “tool” to “toy” pretty quickly.)

AI: How did you start using them and what was your a-ha moment in doing so?
RL: I started using social media when I decided we needed an easy-to-administrate site where GrayPictures, our multi-media and creative services business, could post photos of recent work in a more casual atmosphere than on our “corporate” site at GrayPictures. It was the self-administration that really gave me the a-ha moment. Up to that point, I had been dependent upon outside resources for design and technical support for anything interactive that I wanted to do. Having the power put into my own hands was…well, sort of intoxicating. (Yes, my inner geek has been set free.) I immediately knew what I wanted to blog about. In the end, I again turned to my trusty outside technical resources, but that had more to do with my objectives than it did with any general self-administration limitations.

AI: Big companies versus small companies, versus the solo consultant: who benefits most from Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin?
RL: Hmm. I don’t think it’s a question of who benefits most because it all depends on how you use each of those communication platforms. The benefits are determined by your personal and/or business objectives and how well you execute on them. Your objectives may (and should) vary from social site to social site. No matter who you are, you should think about your objectives (and possible outcomes) before you start posting anything anywhere. That said, how much time you put into it is directly proportionate to the value you get out of it.

AI: When I think of Social Media, I think of the four sites I mentioned above. Is there a site out there that is often overlooked that you think we should all be signing up for?
RL: I have to say I’ve not been a big fan of MySpace. But that’s just me. I named my “Social Media Trifecta” in one of my blog posts: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I think it goes back to your own personal objectives. But to your bigger point, I’ve actually come to think of social media as “anything” we do online. I even see my email as “social media” in many ways. Once you hit “send,” “post,” “submit,” “share,” or “join,” it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It’s “out there” and—for better or worse—out of your control. Plus, there are so many aspects of being “social” to consider: social media, social networking, social business, social sharing, social bookmarking, etc. I wonder if the term has truly found a solid home yet because it means so many things to so many different people. It changes and evolves so quickly, so I provide links to the resources and tools I find helpful in navigating the socialsphere as I come across them.

AI: You really are an expert on social media. In figuring out how to use these tools, what were some mistakes or missed opportunities you made along the way?
RL: I actually don’t think there are any “experts” in social media. Best practices are being created and recreated by the nanosecond. It’s a moving target, really. (Get ready for the buzzwords…) We all have different reasons for “engaging” and we all “join the conversation” at different levels, but what we all have in common is a shared passion for this very cool “new” thing and that’s what makes us a real, but virtual, “community.” I spend a lot of my time in the space…learning. Social media is fully integrated with my thinking when it comes to strategic marketing. It may not be appropriate for every business situation, but when it is, I advise people and businesses based on my personal experiences, as well as my mistakes, which I post about on my blog as I go along. I also don’t hesitate to turn to those with more experience when I need to—social media has re-educated me in the practice of “humility.”

AI: What do you see as the future of social media, as it relates to conducting and growing business/revenues?
RL: This is, indeed, the burning question. I can only return to my own experience: simply put, social media has changed the way I think about my business and the value I place on my business network. At the end of the day, I like to say that I’m less concerned about what social media has brought to my “bottom line” than I am about all it has added to the “top of my head.”

Super Bowl Round Up

Well, obviously, judging by my past two posts, I liked Bruce Springsteen’s performance. I only got one song out of the three I predicted he’d play correct. In fact, he played four. But that is what is so great about Bruce, and again, it’s what makes him a great marketeer. All along we’ve heard he’d play 3 songs. He under-promised and over-delivered. He gave the old-time fans something they would love (“Tenth Avenue Freeze-out”), he promoted the new album (“Working on a Dream,” and he hauled out a gospel choir so he put a new twist on it—and it is still a new song), then he gave us what we expect from him (“Born to Run”) and finally, he took an old classic and updated it. “Glory Days” is a baseball song, but it’s his only sports song. He updated it by changing the lyrics to football references.

What can we learn from all this? We already know. Under-promise and over-deliver. Keep your classics fresh. Give them what they want, but don’t forget to promote the new stuff.

It’s simple. It’s marketing 101, but it is done on a grand, rock-n-roll scale.

Oh, and the ads have been fun to watch, too, but seriously, just watching a Bruce show, it is hard for this fan to get excited about the ads at this point, or even the game.

However, when the excitement wears off, I do want to comment on the 3D ads that showed right before Bruce. Odd, gutsy move . . .

The Rat Wrangling Marketing Genius

Cathe B. Jones is a comedian, published author and rat wrangler–what? More on that later. Today she tells Audacious Ink how she markets herself so successfully and in a variety of fields.

AI: Cathe, you are one funny gal. And I’m not talking about your comedy. Haha. Anyway, as a comedian, what do you do to market yourself? What steps do you take above and beyond to get your name out there?

CJ: Pshaw, thanks! Marketing is about half of a comic’s job, 40 percent is writing material and the rest is on stage. I started back in 1981- so the marketing consisted of handing out fliers on people’s cars, posting notes on college bulletin boards, and other tree unfriendly methods. Now with podcasting, (great method..check out Jackie Kashian and Grant Braccocio), satellite radio, (really great method… check out the numerous comedy networks), and the social networking sites- you can build an audience in different cities just by putting time into letting the world know who you are. I also recommend comedy-fan sites, like iJoke.tv. There’s also sites like Going.com and Event based sites like Demand, which lets fans pick their favorites to visit cities where they live. I also think meeting people before and after shows is one of the best ways to get an audience- you let people know you’re human, reachable, and available, and they’ll myspace you, facebook you, and even twitter you. (Which tickles.)

AI: How have you used MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and that ilk. Does it work?

CJ: Yes, and on facebook, I have a fan page under Cathe B, where I post my upcoming shows, MySpace.com/comicCatheB, where I do the same, plus blog to other comedians in training, or other comics about the comedy scene in Vegas, and Twitter- it’s more of a “did you hear this?” site..you just can be far more random there. Social media is a mandatory- you HAVE to be part of the online world to get people to the live shows. If you are virtual- you are real to so many. If you don’t exist in cyberspace, you just don’t exist- especially on an audience that has been on computers since kindergarten. With a blackberry addicted President, I believe even MORE people will pounce on social media. Peter Shankman is a pro at putting out the importance of it… you can find him on Twitter, where he posts a column called Help A Reporter Out, (HARO). I also have standard web sites, CatheB.com, and CatheJones.com, where fans who aren’t up on mass-marketed-media can browse on their own time.

AI: What challenges do you have in promoting yourself today that you did not have a year ago or five years ago, or when you first started out in the business?

CJ: Well, it’s interesting, and a great question. Five years ago, I had taken a break from comedy. I got back into it because a family member was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, and I wanted to help SOMEHOW. The only way I could was to put a benefit together, as I had done dozens of times for OTHER people’s loved ones. But I was rusty- when you are off stage..it’s not like bicycle riding. You have to get used to the audiences, their likes, their quirks. The biggest change is that the Latino, Hispanic, Chicano, etc.. audiences are HUGE, and very happy to be going to comedy shows. There’s also the MySpace Dane Cook phenomenom that happened- here’s a guy who used “friending” to build an audience when he really wasn’t a name at all. Then, he toured to THAT audience. College kids, High School kids. The demographic changed, so he was transformed into the college kids funny best friend. It worked. But, it also changed a lot of what people expected of comedians. They want immediate recognition- as audience members. ANYone can be famous on Youtube, or Myspace, or the like. And, comics are abandoning stages, to do Youtube…. Brandon Muller’s spoof of Cris Angel’s show comes to mind- check out Mime Freak. Here Brandon builds an audience of people who are gettign a bit more sophisticated in their comedy-expectations. They are now able to pick up subtleties. And subtitles.

So the shorter answer- the attention span is far shorter than ever. You have to show people you are either their best friend or will be- and that was very different from what I was used to . Now that the economy is toileting, I believe that this will continue to be the case. People want to be heard- and comedians listen.

AI: Let’s talk about your writing. As a published author of numerous books, what do you think the key to your success has been in getting your name in front of an agent or publisher?

CJ: Ah. Well, like many new writers, and experienced writers the agent I thought would be MY PERFECT FIT passed on the project I KNEW would make her happy. But we met at a conference, got along as friends, and it wasn’t a year later when her associate, Janet Rosen, (from Sheree Bykofsky and Associates), took on my project. It was a better fit, and I had no idea about Janet before meeting Sheree. The key has been being open to ideas, talking to agents like human beings, and not fearing them at conventions and conferences.

YAI: You are also a “Rat Wrangler,” which begs the question, what the hell is a rat wrangler, and do they have to do marketing?

CJ: We are not lawyers’ keepers, we train actual rodents… and they’re cool! Little dogs with kangaroo tails! (At least that’s what we told our landlord). They had their own website for a long time and that helped me get work in the field. I showed videos of them doing tricks. Now I have RatRoomTV on YouTube and there are some casting directors who need critters for films or TV. They find me listed in the Film Board books, or better yet via the listing with the Department of Agriculture. Because the animals are used in films I register with both. They’re great at being their own marketers. I bring them anywhere, and they gather crowds.

AI: As you look back over your career as a rat wrangler, comedian and author, did you make any business mistakes along the way that you wish you could get a do over on?

CJ: Everyone messes up. Isadora Duncan never danced a ballet before she crawled on her knees as an infant. Michael Phelps never swam in a pool until he learned how to float or doggy paddle. And, The Red Sox had years of not being perfect! A lot of my mess ups were in believing that all people were who they said they were. I’ve since learned to be very cautious- as some hide behind some pretty elaborate masks. I think I would have had a bigger career in film had I not been so naive about people’s intentions. (in animation, not on screen!) I also kept putting other people’s ideas of what I should be doing with my life ahead of what I wanted to do- and that probably prevented me from being a lot further along in my career. Honestly, I believe a lot of women do this. We think we’re supposed to take care of those around us. We are supposed to be loved, and put our relationships before career. There are several turns life has taken because I followed someone else’s heart and not my own. When I stopped doing that- when I shook off the idea that I’m supposed to conform to another person’s ideal- I really found my own voice, my own foothold, and certainly, my own world view. Some days are still battles for Me-before-Thee, but you know, balance is a way of life now.

AI: For someone who is everything but a marketer, you are one of the best marketing people I know. Thank you, Cathy!