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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Merchandise Your Content Marketing

How To Merchandise Your Content Marketing
How To  Merchandise Your Content Marketing
My latest post on Content Marketing Institute has been published. It's titled "How To Merchandise Your Content Marketing".

Not sure what I'm referring to when I say merchandising?  From Wikipedia, "Merchandising is the methods, practices, and operations used to promote and sustain certain categories of commercial activity. In the broadest sense, merchandising is any practice which contributes to the sale of products to a [retail] consumer."

Pretty relevant to what we do on an ongoing basis, wouldn't you say?

I bet you, too, 'merchandise' your marketing.

Read the post and let me know.

Would you share some of your examples?

Thank you for reading!


P.S.: I would be remiss if I didn't tip my hat to Gary Petersen, who hired me out of Columbia Business School into my 'merchandising' role and has since become not just a wonderful colleague, but also a friend.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

David Weinberger, MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Power of the New Digital Disorder

David Weinberger @ Veneziacamp2009 - 3David Weinberger spoke at the 2010 MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston. His topic: The Power of the New Digital Disorder.

To put things into perspective, David Weinberger is co-author of the The Cluetrain Manifesto written in 2000, and considered profound in its exhortation to think differently about markets and connection.  It is from this book that "markets are conversations" comes.

As MarketingProfs described,

"The Cluetrain Manifesto ... outlined how people needed to change their way of thinking to take advantage of the opportunities created by the connectiveness of the Web. It's now 10 years later and marketers continue to think of the Web in traditional terms that can obscure the depth of the change our businesses and culture are going through. In this provocative keynote presentation, David Weinberger will show how the Web has rewritten our most basic understanding of how business works ... and how, by embracing these changes and thinking differently, businesses can build stronger relationships with customers and partners than ever before."

Weinberger explained that, for the past ~100 years, we've treated business as a fort where walls control information, people and supplies.  The Internet knocked down these walls because people talk to one another. As a result, people outside the walls became better sources of information about the business than those within specifically because they were engaged in conversation with those with experience.

Markets and businesses are actually networks mixing people together via the Internet.

These networks are:

1. Unfathomably large [ trillion pages+?] filled with links, opportunities for engagement, where conversation takes place around points of brilliance which lead to new ideas

2. Always different, always changing, fluid and have nothing to do with traditional markets which are stable chunks based on sameness so you can send the same messages and easily manage them.

3. Transparent because of links that are built into the proprietary nature of the network. It means:
= transparent sources [e.g., Sarah Palin/Wikipedia can see exactly source]
= self transparency
= transparent humanity [=credibility] acknowledges fallibility
= transparent interests

4. Integrated channels: for the first time in human history, the information medium = communications medium = social medium, all happening at the same time.  The web doesn't respect boundaries [like life]; it's connected, and looks for shared interests.  Interests level rank, making rank less visible. When rank does appear, it's inhibiting.

To make use of these networks, Weinberger recommends:

Doing social media, but be sure to get some things right!  Admit you're human. Engage in the political model [love/hate you]. Stand for something and explain why.  Consider advocacy marketing which is transparent about sources and interests, and committed to better conversation.  It's much better to be transparent about disagreement rather than dripping with phony agreeableness.

Business sites need to be truthful, reliable, clear about specifics and offer exact information.  Don't fake it! Be sure to have a strategy in place so you can say something meaninful.

Here's an interesting twist: markets are conversations, however, not all conversations are markets.  It's critically important to resist opportunities, resist always engaging, keep it human, and respect the conversation.

The Internet and its ensuing digital disorder represent plenty of opportunities as long as the Internet remains open and those using it fully embrace it.

You can follow David Weinberger via his blog, and via Twittter @dweinberger.

For a terrific summary of Weinberger's presentation, read David Weinberger to MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010: Not All Conversations Are Markets (#mpb2b) by Peg Mulligan at Content for a Convergent World.

You might enjoy some Weinberger Wisdom as well as hearing David Weinberger talking on the subject of Everything in Miscellaneous on YouTube.

Photo Credit:
David Weinberger @ Veneziacamp2009 - 3 originally uploaded by ialla

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series: LinkedIn

Christine B. Whittemore discusses LinkedIn on TalkFloor
TalkFloor's Dave Foster and I continue to explore social media marketing.  From Advanced Twitter, we have moved on to LinkedIn.

Before I go further, are you on LinkedIn? How do you use LinkedIn? What do you like most and least? I'd love to hear.

Both Dave and I are on LinkedIn.  I invite you to connect with us. Here are links to our profiles:

Dave Foster
Christine Whittemore

Of all of the social networks, I've been on LinkedIn the longest having joined shortly after it was launched.  However, it's also the network that has taken the longest to evolve beyond a resume posting site into an actual social network with interesting and useful interactive resources. Dave and I explore some of those features in the following TalkFloor interview about LinkedIn which you can access by clicking on this link.

Dave describes the three-part interview as follows:

Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now, in the third segment in an ongoing series on social networking talks about LinkedIn the professional social network, the host of tools and applications and tools it makes available and how newcomers can quickly initiate business contacts using the platform.

Here are shownotes and details relating to our discussion about LinkedIn.

What is LinkedIn

It's a professional social network, launched in 2003, which now claims 70 million members in 200 countries in all 7 continents.

  • 72% college grads
  • 66% over $60K/year
  • 68% 35+ years old

Visitors to the site have jumped 31% from last year to 17.6 million in February 2010.  Every Fortune 500 company is represented and 81% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn.

Here's what I find particularly valuable: new networking functionality has been recently added - particularly as it relates to groups [for more information read: Welcome to a whole new way of experiencing LinkedIn Groups]. Pretty exciting!

LinkedIn used to be quite static – primarily a place for resumes. Although it is considerably more interactive, LinkedIn is a much calmer, corporate like environment compared to Twitter or Facebook.  It's a wonderful environment for keeping track of people you know and connecting with people you meet professionally.  It's valuable for networking, researching and connecting for business purposes.

What's important to remember is that search engines such as Google like LinkedIn profiles.  If you have a LinkedIn profile and Google yourself, you'll notice that your profile appears prominently on page one of search results, making it an important element of your personal and professional brand reputation management. Manage your profile and control what people find about you and  your company.

Within LinkedIn you can search people, companies and groups. You can see how you are connected to others; you can learn more about the person you’ll be having a business meeting with and have a more productive session. You can also send personal messages.

What to do first on LinkedIn:

Definitely, your personal profile.  Set it up; complete it 100%.  Add a photo, import your contacts and browse through your connections’ connections to find others you know. LinkedIn will also suggest people for you to connect with.  NOTE: when you invite others to connect with you, be sure to customize the invitation so it sounds like it came from you. This makes a difference!

Once you have your profile created, be sure to claim your vanity LinkedIn URL [e.g., mine is CBWhittemore].  To do so, go to settings/public profile; you'll see the prompt to customize your LinkedIn profile URL.  Be sure to note the other options available.

I recommend that you look into several neat features that LinkedIn offers for enhancing your personal profile:  You can add a feed from your blog. Embed your Slideshare presentations. Add link to files like resumes and marketing kits [via].

To find these applications, on the LinkedIn Nav bar, look for MORE – you’ll notice many options including the apps directory. [Others include: polls, private collaboration space, track travel via TripIt..]

How to increase your LinkedIn visibility:

Definitely complete your profile.  Include in your profile links to your website, blog, etc. Be sure to  use relevant keywords in your headline, your current experience, your summary, your specialties... Don't forget to  issue status updates on a regular basis.

Note: your LinkedIn updates can be connected to your Twitter account.
  • Consider creating events in LinkedIn to raise awareness for what you are doing.
  • Definitely, recommend others and request recommendations [again, be sure to customize your request message].
  • Explore the other valuable LinkedIn features.

Other valuable LinkedIn features:

LinkedIn offers several features for interacting with others: LinkedIn Answers: a Q& A Forum. Per a report in in Dec. 2009, 59.2% of companies and 79% of B2B organizations who participate in online business forums use LinkedIn AnswersLinkedIn Groups – over 500,000 based on companies, schools, affinities…

Do a search and see what comes up [Note: simply select groups in the LinkedIn search window; it defaults to people].  As it relates to Flooring, you'll notice 109 currently. Most popular ones appear first. Check them out.  Consider creating your own about a subject you are passionate about.

NOTE: It's critically important to moderate and be actively involved in your group to ensure quality of content and high level interaction [i.e., no spam].  I give the example of HIMSS' best practices : moderate, post guidelines, educate about policies, ask questions, followup, interact, keep it fresh and relevant.

How to use LinkedIn for business?

In addition to your personal profile, you should also be sure to claim your business profile.  There, too, you should use keywords.  You can now track companies of interest – new feature – find out when they move locations; upcoming big events; new employees…

I recommend that you integrate LinkedIn into your other activities online and offline.  For example, on your website, add link to your LinkedIn profile on your about us page.  When you meet new people, connect with them on LinkedIn.  Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature.  Include a reference to it on your business card.

Demonstrate thought leadership by participating in LinkedIn Answers: ask questions/provide answers – Caution: don’t shamelessly self-promote!  Find relevant groups to contribute insights to. You can also use LinkedIn’s DirectAds to push relevant ads to LinkedIn subscribers targeted by profile demographic info.

For more information, check out LinkedIn’s Learning Center [click on More in your LinkedIn navigation menu], the LinkedIn Blog, MarketingProfs has put together a case study collection, and see the resources below.

Here's your LinkedIn assignment:

  • Set up your profile
  • Complete it 100%
  • Invite people to join both from your own email list as well as by checking out connections of connections
  • Explore groups and join one.
  • Update your status on a weekly basis

LinkedIn resources for you:

What LinkedIn questions do you have? How do you make LinkedIn work for you?

Next: Getting practical with LinkedIn.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Practical Simple Marketing In The News I

PracticalMktr” Wordle  by CB Whittemore
As I come across articles of interest, I've started sharing them on Twitter identified with the hashtag '#PracticalMktr'. I'll also share them here periodically identified as 'Practical Simple Marketing In The News.'

Simple & Practical Marketing Data

Practical Marketing Advice

Simple Marketing Inspiration

Brands Being Practical With Social Marketing

Thank you for reading!

Image credit: “#PracticalMktr” Wordle by CB Whittemore

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AOC2: Don't Be Myopic About Social Media!

Age of Conversation 2
Recently, I announced the third book in the The Age of Conversation (AOC) series. [See Press Release: Age of Conversation 3 Highlights Social Media Best Practices.]

All three books in the series feature chapters written by bloggers from around the world who share unique perspectives and valuable insights. 

The first Age of Conversation, published in 2007, included 103 bloggers from 24 states and 10 countries participated.  Age of Conversation 2: why don't they get it? came out in 2008. 237 bloggers from around the world contributed.

It's marvelous stuff.

You don't believe me?

Here are a few tastes:  my chapter from the first Age of Conversation, The Conversation Age Enabled and, in this post, my chapter from the second Age of Conversation (AOC2): why don't they get it? It was featured in the Business Model Evolution section.

I've also included an audio file I recorded of my chapter.

Business Model Evolution – Why People Don’t Get It

Don’t Be Myopic About Social Media!

By: C.B. Whittemore

Do you remember Theodore Levitt’s Marketing Myopia about defining something too narrowly? Move forward to today’s Age of Conversation, enabled by social media tools - like wikis, blogs, social networks, and RSS - that many define too narrowly.

Rather than embrace such tools to facilitate interaction, create conversations, enable collaboration and democratize knowledge, many shut their eyes/ears/brains. They become myopic forgetting how things were done – not that long ago – before email [remember memos and carbon copies?] and cell phones [vs. pay phones?]. Those tools radically changed how we conducted business. We became effective beyond a desk and outside an office. Our reach grew, our productivity increased.

Imagine going even farther, becoming more relevant to customers and end users, developing solutions once impossible. Imagine going from myopia to ever improving vision, by taking part in the Age of Conversation!

The Age of Conversation engages those interested in participating, transforming customers once antagonistic toward your sales efforts into advocates willing and eager to promote you and offer new input, serendipitous examples and unexpected suggestions. Social media becomes the means to bringing together those passionately interested, creating a community rather than an indifferent audience, quality over quantity, holding even greater potential for revolutionizing business and strengthening brands. So why don’t people get it?

Luckily, a few start experimenting. They highlight best practices in the industry, showcase passionate voices and invite new perspectives in. Before you know it, their efforts are no longer scoffed at, although skepticism remains. Although mass communication tools aren’t abandoned, you begin to see interest in developing conversations with consumers and customers. I consider this step 1.

Those too traditional in mindset to appreciate the difference between having a blog and engaging in the conversation continue not to get it. The larger the organization, the more entrenched in traditional communication approaches, the greater the resistance and the confusion.

However, the nimble ones, often with limited resources, take note. They take those concepts to another level, becoming personally invested in content quality, integrating efforts and demonstrating the joy inherent to better vision, to shedding myopia and seeing forever. I consider this step 2.

Conversations that had never before taken place happen, between neophytes and experts, unrelated specialists, end users and creators, all working together in the Age of Conversation to bring meaning and value to an otherwise old economy industry. They start to get it. I consider this the beginning.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jay Miletsky, Rich Becker, CB Whittemore: Jay Ehret's Marketers' Roundtable

Jay Ehret's Marketers' Roundtable

Jay Ehret has published on Power to the Small Business! his latest podcast featuring Marketer's Roundtable 6 during which Jay Miletsky, Rich Becker and I sat around a virtual roundtable and discussed current marketing issues with Jay Ehret, our host.

I had a blast!

We each brought to the table our very own hot marketing topic or issue.  We each had the opportunity to voice opinions and ideas on one another's topics. Jay Ehret kept us on track as he added his own perspectives!

Jay Miletsky, CEO of Mango! Creative Juice, started us out with the first topic: On Marketers and Social Media Reality.

Rich Becker, President of Copywrite, Ink, went next and introduced On Managing and Measuring the Marketing Mix.

C.B. Whittemore, Chief Simplifier of Simple Marketing Now, [that's me :-)] introduced On Blending Online and Offline Marketing.

Finally, Jay Ehret, Chief Officer of Awesomeness at The Marketing Spot, brought up On Being Different vs. Being Better.  His source of inspiration for the topic was Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd.  [Have you read it? It sounds fascinating!]

Please do listen to the podcast. It lasts 34 minutes and is available by clicking on this link to Marketers Roundtable 6 - Current Marketing Issues. The link also includes show notes and selected quotes organized by marketing topic. 

If you'd like to download an MP3 copy of the podcast [for personal use only], you can do so by clicking on this link to Power to the Small Business #59.

More information on my fellow roundtable marketers:

Jay Miletsky:
Blog: Jay Miletsky
Twitter: @JayMiletsky

Rich Becker:
Blog: Copywrite, Ink
Twitter: @RichBecker

CB Whittemore:
Blog: Flooring The Consumer & Simple Marketing Blog
Twitter: @CBWhittemore

Jay Ehret:
Blog: The Marketing Spot
Twitter: @TheMarketingGuy

Thanks, Jay, for the opportunity.

Thanks, Jay, Rich and Jay, for a thought-provoking marketing discussion.

Special thanks to Rich for his nice 'simplifier' comments!

I'd love to hear what you think - including what topics you suggest that Jay address in his next Marketers' Roundtable Discussion!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Do I Do Twitter?

How Do I? social media marketing series
The recently completed series of interviews done with TalkFloor's Dave Foster about Twitter belongs in the How Do I? social media marketing series.

After all, all three parts go into great detail about Twitter itself, how to make sense of it, how to use the tools, and how to apply Twitter for use in business.

Here, then, are links to the three parts.

Part I: #TalkFloor Series on Social Media addresses What is Twitter and Why Should I Care?

Part II: #TalkFloor Series: Twitter & Social Media explains How To Get Started With Twitter.

Part III: #TalkFloor Series: Advanced Twitter discusses how to become a Twitter power-user.

Included in each section you'll find recorded interviews and detailed notes with links.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter!
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