Coming of age

Age of Conversation 2

Age of Conversation 2

The book Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It? will officially be out tomorrow, Oct. 29th!

If you have not heard, over the last several months I have participated in a global experiment to see if 237 marketing bloggers could write a book (As it turns out, we can and I think this book should be a hit!)

Please join us on the book launch tomorrow, as all proceeds will go to the children’s charity – Variety.

For those that cannot wait until tomorrow to see what I wrote (Mom, that’s you), here is a little hint:

SQ Hero

SQ Hero

Here is the full list of all the authors who participated:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Happy Tuesday!

Flash of Insight: Communication

A flash of insightCommunication is a two way street. Don’t be a road hog.

Fatigue is a much better teacher than the autopilot

Using the autopilot on a long plane ride will get you to your destination with less pilot fatigue (that’s a good thing). However, I think fatigue in business is not only needed, it’s mandatory.

If you have never worked so long on finding a solution to a problem that you have forgotten what real sleep feels like…if you have never worked on a vexing challenge that took every part of your brain and the very thought of trying to cram anything else into your grey matter would certainly leave it in a permanently congealed state…if you have never tasted what it feels like to get past the dip that most people don’t dare cross…you will. Because if what you are working on right now is worth it, it’s worth the fatigue.

Fatigue is not the enemy. It makes us stretch and reach beyond what we thought we could do. It leaves us hungry for more. And maybe most importantly, fatigue forces us into a humble and teachable state. So don’t fight fatigue, lean into it and make it work for you. Resist the urge to create autopilots where hard work will not only get the job done in more profound way, but will leave you a better person for it.

Happy Monday all!

If only…

The scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz sang about it. Pablo Picasso has a great quote about it. The group Hason wrote a song about it (did I really just link to Hanson??).

“If only”…two words that are full of regret, wishful thinking, Monday morning quarterbacking and other heavy anchors only there to prevent us from opening our eyes to what we have and taking action.

Cut the “if only” ties that bind you by looking forward, being grateful and doing what is in your power (or better yet, create more power for yourself). I know I am working really hard on this.

Seinfeld on Marketing: Limitations and working backwards

It’s time for another weekly installment of Seinfeld on Marketing. In this episode, Kramer is talking to Jerry:

KRAMER: [Reading the newspaper] Look at this. They are redoing the Cloud Club.

JERRY: Oh, that restaurant on top of the Chrysler building? Yeah, that’s a good idea.

KRAMER: Of course it’s a good idea – it’s my idea. I conceived this whole project two years ago.

JERRY: Which part? The renovating the restaurant you don’t own part or spending the two hundred million you don’t have part?

KRAMER: You see I come up with these things, I know they’re gold, but nothing happens. You know why?

JERRY: No resources, no skill, no talent, no ability, no brains…

KRAMER: (interrupting) No, no time! It’s all this meaningless time. Laundry, grocery, shopping, coming in here talking to you. Do you have any idea how much time I waste in this apartment?

JERRY: I can ball park it.

Kramer, dawning his newfound perspective, once again thought he had a great idea – stopping maritime oils spills with the creation of an oil bladder system for oil tankers. But despite Kramer’s best efforts and even recruiting an intern from NYU to help work on his bladder system, Kramer’s plan fails due to limited “resources.”

In a very small way, we all have a little Kramer in us – you have great ideas but not enough resources to fully develop that killer app, get past using a template for your marketing plan, gain the optimal experience for that perfect job or move your project beyond a mere idea. Don’t worry — there is help.

One of the best ways to gain productivity and maximize your limited resources is to work backwards on your project. Imagine for a moment that you have unlimited time, money, talent or any other resource that you think that is holding your back. Now think back to your project. With these unlimited resources on your side, imagine the ideal outcome for your project. Create a vivid, mental image of the best-case scenario.

Now, work backwards. Think of the final step needed just prior to realizing the final, optimized outcome. Now, think of the step prior to this step. Keep going until you have the project broken out into smaller, bite-sized steps. Don’t worry at this point if things seem unrealistic or unpractical. The idea is to remove project paralysis due to our own limits. If you think big, your outcome will be 10 times better (or more) than if you start your project the traditional way, from the beginning and along the way tossing in all the reasons why it won’t work.

Go on, give it a try!

Happy Friday everyone.

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

Marketing is a privilege, not a right

During tough economic times I often see companies that seem to think that marketing is more of a right than it is a privilege. Just because things may be tough right now doesn’t mean that you have the right to:

  • Sneak in extra charges hoping consumers won’t notice.
  • “Upgrade” your monthly email newsletter subscribers to a weekly email newsletter subscription all in the name of brand building with free stamps.
  • Think that product shrinkage and price increases are the default and need no careful consideration.

If you’re lucky, you’ve carefully crafted the privilege to talk directly with your customers through hard work, trust and delivering n what they want. Now is not the time to ruin this for some possible short-term gain.

Make ads that match your story

We’ve all seen ads that try to stretch the reality of the product (infomercials anyone?)

This, in my opinion, is because not enough has gone into the story of the product and the ad is left trying do all the heaving lifting (and we all know that ads do a terrible job persuading consumer loyalty to a shoddy product).

When it fact, it is your story that has to do all of the heavy lifting and the ad is simply there to help reinforce the story (like a great cover on a remarkable book).

But advertisements that do work match the story we already have in our heads, like the iPhone (or most anything Apple).

Take a look at this clever ad from Nintendo advertised on YouTube (be sure to watch it all the way through) – a hat tip to Techdirt.

I love the Wii so it matches my story of the Wii. Does it match your story of the Wii? Are you less, the same or more likely to buy this game or a Wii? Why?

Keeping it complicated

I think many have mastered the complicated – a double-talking political candidate, a call center telephone menu system that has you pushing more buttons than a spirited game of Guitar Hero, companies trying to be all things to all people (and doing none of them well), and tax laws that befuddle and confuse.

I think complicated is the default setting for many. On the other hand, simplicity tells a powerful story to those tuned in to hear it:

Pinkberry and Woot! limit the stuff they sale. Build-A-Bear has a simplified store layout that tells a story. Apple makes their stuff easy to use.

Simple can be very hard to create and especially hard to maintain. But when it is done right, it just feels natural.

My questions to you:
Can you think of any other examples of simplicity (or being overly complicated)? Why is simple so hard? What can we do to maintain simplicity in all we do?