Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aligning Sales and Business Goals...Even Possible?

I've providing b2b marketing services to technology companies since 1999 or so. In that time, I've heard a lot of the same issues pop up at many firms. One of the them is the pain that is generated when a company is making a change in strategy, direction or focus- and the sales team becomes reactionary and resistant.

A common example of this is when a product based company realizes that its products are becoming commodities and attempts to re-position itself as a solutions or services company. This change always seems to cause consternation with the folks who have been happily selling the products. With good

I just read a very good article by Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley luminary about just this issue. It is a very good read, and you should read the whole thing...but here is a snippet...

The Land of the Living Dead 
I see this same pattern in early stage startups. Early sales look fine, but often plateau. Engineering comes into a staff meeting with several innovative ideas and the head of sales and/or marketing shoot them down with the cry of “It will kill our current sales.” 
The irony is that “killing our current sales” is often what you need to do. Most startups don’t fail outright, they end up in “the land of living dead” where sales are consistently just OK but never breakout into a profitable and scalable company. This is usually due to a failure of the CEO and board in forcing the entire organization to Pivot. The goal of a scalable startup isn’t optimizing the comp plan for the sales team but optimizing the long-term outcome of the company. At times they will conflict. And startup CEO’s need a way to move everyone out of their comfort zone to the bigger prize. 
Burn The Boats 
In 1519 Hernando Cortes landed in the Yucatan peninsula to conquer the Aztec Empire and bring their treasure back to Spain. His small army arrived in 11 boats. As they landed Cortes solved the problem of getting his team focused on what was ahead of them – he ordered them to burn the boats they came in. Now the only way home was to succeed in their new venture or die. Pivots that involve radical changes to the business model may at times require burning the boats at the shore.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Great Article on GE Insourcing Manufacturing

I just read a very interesting article in the Atlantic about the trend of bringing factories back to the USA. I have heard folks talk about this before, but this is the first real deep-dive I've seen into the drivers of this.

The Insourcing Boom by Charles Fishman, The Atlantic

Bringing jobs back to Appliance Park solves a problem. It is sparking a wave of fresh innovation in GE’s appliances—every major appliance line has been redesigned or will be in the next two years—and the experience of “big room” redesign, involving a whole team, is itself inspiring further, faster advances.

In fact, insourcing solves a whole bundle of problems—it simplifies transportation; it gives people confidence in the competitive security of their ideas; it lets companies manage costs with real transparency and close to home; it means a company can be as nimble as it wants to be, because the Pacific Ocean isn’t standing in the way of getting the right product to the right customer.
Very interesting...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! Plus Free Local Event...

Happy Thanksgiving!

On behalf of everyone here at Honeycomb Consulting, I'd like to wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

Before you leave for the airport, or finish up your to-do list, add this event to your calendar. The good people at Morgan Franklin have been organizing the Pivotal Play event series for over a year now, and they are always quality events.

Date: Tuesday, November 27
Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm
Location: USA Today's Gannett Center 7950 Jones Branch Drive McLean, Virginia 22107

London Fletcher, linebacker for Washington's professional football team
Catherine Meloy, President and CEO, Goodwill of Greater Washington
Tom Davidson, Co-Founder and CEO, EverFi

MODERATOR Chick Hernandez, anchor and reporter, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic
Guest emcee - Mike Wise, columnist, Washington Post and radio host for 106.7 The Fan

4:00pm-5:00pm | Registration & Networking
5:00pm–6:00pm | Panel Discussion
6:00pm–7:00pm | Cocktails & Networking


As always, here are a few articles that I recommend that you read (maybe while watching some football Thursday afternoon!).

5 Major Challenges Marketers Face (And How to Solve Them), by Sarah Goliger, HubSpot's Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Number one? Driving traffic and generating awareness...

Four Reasons It Pays to Have a Company Blog, by Chris Lee, MarketingProfs
  1. Tying Together Your Online and Offline Efforts
  2. Demonstrating Knowledge
  3. Fostering Customer Relationships
  4. Boosting SEO Success
As always, if you like to learn more about Honeycomb, have a chat about your marketing plans for 2013, visit our website, or send me an email...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Movies Making Money

In case you were wondering why all those ads for video games are all over TV...

From The Daily Beast:

‘Black Ops II’ Smashes Sales Records

Twihards have nothing on these guys. Gamers helped “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” shatter sales records this week, helping the latest installment in the popular franchise move $500 million worth of games in its first day. The previous record? A comparatively paltry $400 million set by 2011’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.” Hype certainly helped the sales numbers—over 16,000 midnight release events took place across the country.

$500 million. In one day.

How much did you sell today?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Puppies and Prosperity

Not often that you read an article that combines puppies and international economic development. Kudos to one of the Washington Post's bloggers for this one:

"Puppies: The new indicator of prosperity?" 

 Awesome puppy related chart...

and this one...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Top Five Marketing Posts for November

It's Movember! Although I am not growing out a mustache, I am, however, getting a great deal of amusement out of my friends attempts to grow theirs. You all know who you

As always, here are a few marketing related articles that I thought I would share with you...

(Oh, and congratulations to President Obama. Now, do the grand bargain with Congress, so we all can move on and get to work.)

8 Social Media Numbers that Will Rock Your Business, by Eric Schurenberg, Inc

Here is a good line: “Personal data is the oil of the digital age”

25 Best Blogs 2012, by Time

Great list! I added seven of these to my RSS reader.

Email Marketing: 6 tactics on combining content and email strategies, by David Kirkpatrick, MarketingProfs

They are:

  1. Understand that content is a vital part of email marketing 
  2. Make the blog the hub of all content 
  3. Use internal resources to create content 
  4. Mine incoming email for content 
  5. Mine outgoing email for content 
  6. Repurpose content

5 Lessons From the Best Example of Content Marketing Ever?, by Jay Baer, Convince and Convert

A very good case study on a McDonald's content marketing program.

Content Plays Critical Role Throughout Tech-Buying Cycle, by MarketingProfs

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The One Article You Have to Read Today

OK, there may be more than one, but for my money this is it.

Content Plays Critical Role Throughout Tech-Buying Cycle, MarketingProfs

From the article:

When making a major technology or security solution purchase, information technology decision-makers (ITDMs) download an average of nine content assets throughout the buying cycle, according to a report by IDG.
ITDMs rely on various types of content as they advance through the buying cycle:
  • Early in the purchase process, when determining business need and technical requirements, ITDMs rank content such as feature articles, technology news stories, how-to articles, and whitepapers as most important.
  • Midway through the process, when ITDMs are evaluating products and selecting vendors, content such as reviews/recommendations and third-party research (e.g., IDC, Gartner) plays a more important role.
  • In the latter part of the buying cycle, when ITDMs are focusing on getting internal buy-in and final approval, content such as assessment tools (e.g., ROI calculators), product demos, and demo literature becomes more important. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Top Five Articles to Read in October

It is October now. Really. The fourth quarter. The last quarter of the year. What should you be reading? Here are a few items...

How To Meet Mark Zuckerberg, by Alyson Shontell, Business Insider

In case you didn't know, Business Insider has a ton of great articles. So, what is the secret to meeting the Zuck?

He likes to meet entrepreneurs and help them. He especially likes to meet entrepreneurs who are building cool things on Facebook's platform. Zuckerberg also referenced Runkeeper, Spotify and Airbnb as startups that were "killing it."

He explained:
"The way that I got to know Kevin [Systrom] is they started off building on top of our platform. They had just a great open graph integration that made it so you could take pictures with Instagram and share them to Facebook and it's really first class…One of the things that I like to do is, with all of our big developers, I just like to reach out and get to know them personally. Partially because I'm just really interested in entrepreneurship and helping other entrepreneurs, but also I just want to get to know the people who are doing great stuff on top of our platform."

Top 25 Websites for CEOs, by Mike Myatt, Forbes

A treasure trove of valuable websites. Do you know all of them?

Content Marketing 101: 8 steps to B2B success, by David Kirkpatrick, Marketing Sherpa Blog

They are

  1. Define your goals – tie this to business strategy/objectives
  2. Understand your audience – identify where audience concerns/pains/needs intersect with your expertise/solutions and what type of information they seek out/prefer
  3. Map content to these findings
  4. Audit existing content to identify gaps and/or content that can be used or needs updating
  5. Create a content schedule/calendar to ensure you consistently produce content because it’s not a once-and-done exercise
  6. Develop content (include your sales team and other customer-facing employees as they need to understand the story you plan to tell)
  7. Distribute content
  8. Measure the results

Twitter mulls a replacement for follower counts, by John Koetsier, Venture Beat

Joking that he was on the board and shouldn’t say too much, (Evan) Williams indicated some kind of engagement score may be coming, and that Twitter’s recent strategic shifts to a more-restrictive Twitter API access policy enable better measurement of engagement. If, after all, every Twitter client for consumers is created by the company itself, Twitter could much more easily determine exactly which tweets were requested by users, and make some pretty good guesses about which ones were actually seen and read.

15 writing tips from a journalist turned PR pro, by Becky Gaylord, PR Daily

Some pretty valuable tips for organizing the writing process.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Government Studies of Government Studies Need Study

This post is a little off topic. However, the post I just read was too dumbfounding not to share.

 From the Environmental Economics blog:

Newmark's Door:
It's difficult to make stuff like this up. (Unless you're Monty Python.)
In 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon was spending too much on studies, so he commissioned a study of exactly how much. That study was then scrutinized by the Government Accountability Office, which found the study of studies lacking
Here's the kicker. What does the study of the study of studies conclude? More study is needed. The GAO recommends that the Pentagon "take steps to evaluate DOD's effort to estimate costs."

Wow. Good thing they have this government bureaucracy thing under control...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Top 5 Marketing Articles to Read This Week

Busy week! As always, I'm always reading a ton of articles on the Internets. Here are a few that caught my eye...

What You Can Learn From the Funniest P&G Marketer Ever, by Rajiv Satyal, AdAge

Good advice if you want to add some creativity to your work.

Breaking: Announces the Marketing Cloud. So What is It?, by Jesse Noyes, Eloqua

Marketing, sales and technology are becoming the same process. Get it? Get it?

David Byrne on How Music and Creativity Work, by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

Yet more insight into the creative process...

Are HTML5 and Hybrid App Development Strategies Ready for Primetime?, by D. P. Venkatesh, mPortal Blog

Building out your mobile platform? Wondering whether to go native, html5 or hybrid?

4 Reasons Facebook Dumped HTML5 And Went Native, by Todd Hoff,High Scalibility

Facebook has an opinion. You should probably listen...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPhone Day Reading List, plus Cool Gif!

Well, iPhone Day is here, and if you'd really just rather watch the show, here is the link. I can't upgrade mine for another six months, so I don't really care. Really.

In the meantime, a lot of really smart people have been writing some excellent pieces on marketing, content development, economics and business.

Here is what I recommend you read...

46 Federal Technology Experts to Follow on Twitter, by Jimmy Daly, FedTech

Start your federal government marketing strategy off with a good look at the names on this list...

Social Media in the C-Suite, by David Edelman

For all the buzz around social media, one aspect has been largely ignored: the need for top business executives, especially CEOs, to personally get into the social media game. A recent survey by BRANDfog (PDF – 4.2MB) points out that when C-Suite executives become active on social media, it can increase brand trust, loyalty and purchase intent. In fact, 82 percent of survey respondents stated that they were more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media. And isn’t trust the most critical component of building relationships with customers?

The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With Mobile Marketing, And 3 Strategies That Actually Work, by Aaron Shapiro, Fast Company

...the problem most companies are facing in mobile today isn’t simply a lack of appreciation for the realities of demand in the app market. Applications, just like any digital initiative, must be grounded in clear strategies that harmonize specific business needs and user interests, while reflecting a pragmatic view of the marketplace. Most marketers are making the same mistakes in mobile that they’ve made on the web for years--expecting consumers to dedicate time and attention to their brand messaging without providing any valuable service or fulfilling any consumer need. Aside from the potential short-term PR boost and the value of educating employees with limited backgrounds in digital and mobile, building a branded app for the sake of having an app is a waste of time and money for everyone involved.
And what are those strategies that work: Mobile as Marketing, Mobile as Service Enhancement and Mobile as a Business.

The Rules of Social Media, by Fast Company

Fast Company readers submit their own rules of the road...some of these are pretty awesome- "Don't try to be clever, be clever."

Need More Links and Social Shares? Try Making More Enemies, by Sonia Simone, CopyBlogger

Part six in their “Content Connections” series. All good advice...

In Case You Blinked: $23B+ in M&A Deals in Baltimore/Washington Region in Two Months, by CityBizList

In case you thought the economy around here was terrible.

Oh, yeah! and a cool cat gif! Because, why not...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Hey! It's September's Reading List Extravaganza!

September is off to a roaring start. I hope the rest of the year is like this!

Oh, by the way, scientists have just discovered that the 80% of DNA that they thought did nothing...actually are integral to how cells behave and how diseases progress. Chew on that..

Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From ‘Junk,’ Play Crucial Role, by Gina Kolata, New York Times

Oh and then there is this little piece of awesome...

Phones will get all charged up about new Ultrabook feature, by Eric Mack

Yes, charging your phone without cords is coming, and coming soon.

For now, here are some marketing/business/economics articles to read while your phone is charging.

BII MOBILE INSIGHTS: Multi-Screen Media Consumption Is The New Normal by Heather Leonard, Business Insider

7 Pros and Cons of Content Marketing, by Erin Nelson, Business 2 Community

3 Little-Known Social Media Misconceptions that Can Destroy Your Marketing Strategy, by Brad Smith, Social Media Today

Mobile Entertainment Consumption Soared 82% in One Year, by Samantha Murphy, Mashable

ESPN: Everywhere Sports Profit Network, by Karl Greenfield, BusinessWeek

ESPN’s $5.6 billion deal with Major League Baseball, announced on Aug. 28, is typical of the kinds of multiplatform rights packages the company now seeks to acquire. Not only will ESPN continue to televise regular-season and playoff games through 2021, it also gets radio rights, international rights, unlimited highlights and, most important, the right to stream all that content through its mobile applications.

“Right now,” says Norby Williamson, a vice president for production, “what you can pay for a property is based on what you can bring to a property, how you can surround a property.” ESPN’s continued success is predicated on its being willing to pay more for those properties than anyone else. It comes down to a race between ESPN’s ability to develop and succeed in new platforms—and sell ads and subscriptions against them—and the ever-escalating costs of televising live sports.

GIF Illustrates Massive Growth of Walmart, Mashable
Pretty awesome...

The Lost Bush/Obama Era Gave Us the Gold Commission,by John Tamny, RealClearMarkets

Monetary Angioplasty Required,By Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reading List for the Dog Days of August- Mark Cuban Edition

I've just returned from vacation and I'm catching up on some reading. Here are a few articles that have caught my eye...

Which USA do you work in?, by Mark Cuban
Mark says there is are two Americas: one is having the intelligence sucked out it (brick and mortar) and one is is desperate for intelligence (cloud). His advice? Learn to code.

5 Ways To Learn Code From The Comfort Of Your Own Browser, by Klint Finley, TechCrunch
Taking Marc's advice? Start here...

Amazon Web Services
And here...
And here...

Henry Rollins’ 3 Rules For Success As An Artist/Entrepreneur by Jason Gots, Big Think Blog
Still a big fan of Henry...I think I first heard a Black Flag song in 1985.

Groupon Visits the Bargain Basement, Marketing Pilgrim
Whoever said that Groupon/Livingsocial, etc were social media companies was seriously smoking something.

10 B2B Companies That Create Exceptional Content, by Meghan Keaney Anderson, Hubspot
Hubspot writes up some great, informational posts on marketing. Truly succeeding by drinking the content marketing kool-aid.

Ever wonder if someone is plagiarizing your website, or someone else's, this is the site for you.

MarketingBuzz: 5 steps for building a content marketing strategy, by Irving Frydman,
Nice, quick highlights...

Content Marketing Checklist: 13 Things You Must Do Before You Publish Content, by Heidi Cohen, Business 2 Community
Another good take on how to set up and run a content marketing program.

The Marketer's Simple Guide to Creating Infographics in PowerPoint, by Anum Hussain, Hubspot
Hubspot scores again...and with a handy template.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reading List- July

Here are some of the better articles so far in July...

How to Build and Operate a Content Marketing Machine by Toby Murdoch
A really good, easy to understand overview of the all the parts of a content marketing operation.

52 Incredibly Useful Sites: the Full List by Robert Strohmeyer, CIO Magazine

3 Tips to Integrate Social, Email Successfully by Karen J. Bannan, B2B Magazine
1. Publish your email newsletter to social accounts
2. Boost the chance that social and email content will rank high in organic searches
3. Make emails easier to share

The Forest of Rhetoric by Dr. Gideon Burton of Brigham Young University

An Interview with ITIL Girl by the LANDesk Software Blog
A blog post I helped pull together for a client.

What's the Point of Paid Media in Post- Advertising by John Thomas, Post Advertising

10 Things You Should Tweet by Jon Gelberg, Inc.

Read anything interesting lately? Send me the link at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reading List- June 20

Here are some of the better articles and posts I've read in the past few days...

What the Rise of Content Marketing Means for Your Business by Chris Horton, Social Media Today

5 Essentials for Marketing In An Upswing (Hopefully) Economy by Terry Welty, DemandGen report
Those five basic premises of essential marketing outlined in my original article not only still apply today, but I believe they are even more important guidelines than ever. For marketing professionals trying to steer their company forward in a hesitant, but upward slanting business climate, there’s no better marketing advice I can give than to stick to the following tried-and-true, “go-back-to-basics” approach:
1. Know your company’s real value
2. Know your customer
3. Keep your salespeople well informed, well educated, and well armed
4. Stay consistently visible
5. Keep it simple

The Marketers Reading List by Jay Ehret, The Marketing Blog (This is a great list- read all of these!)

Seven Mobile Marketing Best-Practices by Igor Faletski, Marketing Profs
1. Simple beats pretty
2. Be brief
3. Mobile is highly local
4. Mobile search is focused and timely
5. Make it easy to share the love
6. Mobile searchers make mistakes
7. Optimize your UX for mobile

Read anything interesting lately? Send me the link at

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Reading List - June 7

Here are the articles and posts I've been reading...quite a hodgepodge. Read anything interesting lately? Send me the link at

B-to-g marketers leverage social media to build relationships with federal employees - Direct Marketing News

The 5 Pillars of Social Media Strategy by Brian Solis, on the Networking Exchange Blog

Top 50 #Mobile Twitter Influencers by Jen Cohen on SAP's mobile blog

The 8 Keys to Successful Branding - Why 'Mad Men' and Whisky Are Not Going To Cut It by Matt Symonds, Forbes

Why the surge in obesity? - Consider the Evidence

Summary- the obesity epidemic started in 1980. The only variable changed around the same time is Calories in the Food Supply. Everything else that can plausibly explain the nation's weight gain- levels of exercise, hours spent TV watching, sedentary jobs, daily commutes in cars- aren't correlated with the change in adult obesity rates around 1980. Basically, everyone in America started eating more, a lot more, around 1980.

St. Bernanke's Fight Against the Deflation Dragon By Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Excuse me for geeking out on the economics front for a moment, but this is an excellent article on, what I think is a very much overlooked part of our troubles, the collapse of the velocity of money, which has happened despite the huge increase in the supply of money. Something for all you tea partiers to chew on...

Plus, for all you 99%-ers, check out this chart:

Kind of hard to blame rising inequality on recent events, when this is a trend that started in the late 1970's. Which is also when people started eating too much and getting fat. Coincidence? Correlation?

Why working-class people vote conservative - Jonathan Haidt, The Guardian

And check out the middle finger on the gentleman's book cover. LOL

All Men Can’t Jump - David Stipp, Slate

There's no denying it—our kind started substituting brains for brawn long ago, and it shows: We can't begin to compete with animals when it comes to the raw ingredients of athletic prowess. Yet being the absurdly self-enthralled species we are, we crowd into arenas and stadiums to marvel at our pathetic physical abilities as if they were something special. But there is one exception to our general paltriness: We're the right honorable kings and queens of the planet when it comes to long-distance running.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tuesday Reads: Inbound Marketing, Housing Bubble

Marketing Research Chart: What are the most valuable inbound lead sources? - Kaci Bower, MarketingSherpa

The fine folks at MarketingSherpa released a new report on inbound marketing and surprise, surprise inbound marketing if effective.
Leads obtained from inbound marketing tactics, such as SEO, social media and blogs, have increased in importance over the last 12 months, particularly when compared to leads from outbound marketing programs. Inbound marketing tactics tend to be cost-effective, and offer an efficient option for generating highly qualified leads.

Twelve Facts That May Surprise You About the Housing Bust - Nick Timiraos, WSJ

A new paper was released by the Federal Reserve that analyzed the housing bubble/crash. Their viewpoint is that the commonly accepted reasons for the bubble aren't really true. Agree?

Fact 1: Resets of adjustable-rate mortgages did not cause the foreclosure crisis.
Fact 2: No mortgage was “designed to fail.”
Fact 3: There was little innovation in mortgage markets in the 2000s.
Fact 4: Government policy toward the mortgage market did not change much from 1990 to 2005.
Fact 5: The originate-to-distribute model was not new.
Fact 6: MBS, CDOs, and other “complex financial products” had been widely used for decades.
Fact 7: Mortgage investors had lots of information.
Fact 8: Investors understood the risks.
Fact 9: Investors were optimistic about house prices.
Fact 10: Mortgage market insiders were the biggest losers.
Fact 11: Mortgage market outsiders were the biggest winners.
Fact 12: Top-rated bonds backed by mortgages did not turn out to be “toxic.” Top-rated bonds in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) did.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Links for May 1: LinkedIn B2B Leads, The Next Big Thing, China

LinkedIn 4x Better for B2B Leads than Facebook or Twitter - David Meerman Scott,
In a study of 3,128 HubSpot B2B customers, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.60%, four times higher than Twitter (.67%) and seven times better than Facebook (.39%). 
Seven Ways to Spot the Next Big Thing - Thomas Goetz,
1. Look for cross-pollinators
2. Surf the exponentials
3. Favor the liberators
4. Give points for audacity
5. Bank on openness
6. Demand deep design
7. Spend time with time wasters

Read the whole, original article here: How to Spot the Future 

Four Shocks That Could Change China - Paul Gregory, Forbes
1. More local revolts like the Wukan Uprising
2. A faltering economy is leading to some to call for the government to step back and allow more free enterprise and financial freedom
3. The whole Bo Xilai fiasco
4. The escape of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng from house arrest and his ability to travel across China to the US Embasssy in Beijing. (Again, he is blind.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reading List for This Week

Here a couple of articles I read this morning...and thought you might like them too.

The PRoblem with Startups - The Flack Blog. This is a nice round up of the Mark Cuban - PR industry rumpus. If you didn't know, shy Mark poked a stick at PR people by saying that startups didn't need trained professionals to generate editorial coverage and that all a CEO had to do was send a quick email to the editors of trade magazines to generate any coverage needed. This might work if you are Mark Cuban (and even then.) PR practitioners, obviously, are a little peeved at Mark pooping on their profession and have generated a fair number of blog posts defending the value they bring. All of this ignores the whole decline of trade media and rise of content marketing trend that I've been talking about for years, but there you go.

Richard Clarke on Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack - Smithsonian Magazine. Think cyberwarefare is a big problem. You have no idea...
The story Richard Clarke spins has all the suspense of a postmodern geopolitical thriller. The tale involves a ghostly cyberworm created to attack the nuclear centrifuges of a rogue nation—which then escapes from the target country, replicating itself in thousands of computers throughout the world. It may be lurking in yours right now. Harmlessly inactive...or awaiting further orders. 
A great story, right? In fact, the world-changing “weaponized malware” computer worm called Stuxnet is very real. It seems to have been launched in mid-2009, done terrific damage to Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 and then spread to computers all over the world. Stuxnet may have averted a nuclear conflagration by diminishing Israel’s perception of a need for an imminent attack on Iran. And yet it might end up starting one someday soon, if its replications are manipulated maliciously. And at the heart of the story is a mystery: Who made and launched Stuxnet in the first place? 
Richard Clarke tells me he knows the answer.
The Myth of Mobile Content Marketing - Copyblogger. I love Copyblogger. Almost every post I read there has gobs of valuable information and is a pleasure to read. Here is a story on the power of browser based mobile websites and the advantage they have over mobile apps.

The world has changed. We’re carrying powerful computers around in our front pockets. We consume the content on our mobile screens while grabbing a coffee, walking the dog, and waiting in line at the DMV.  
And yet, I started this post with a somewhat bold declaration: There is no such thing as “Mobile Content Marketing”. With the introduction of accessible responsive design, mobile content marketing has become simply … content marketing.  
To be a player — a publisher — in the mobile space, you now need only one website, distributing your content on the open web, and displayed perfectly on the little computers so many of us carry.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Monday's Links- This Week, On Wednesday!

I tend to think that the social media tool ecosystem is pretty much set. You know, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. There may be a Google +, or Quora, or Pinterest bouncing around, but to me, they have to prove themselves worthy before I can really devote any of my limited (although large) amount of social media time.

That having been said, one must always keep an eye on what tools or apps are bubbling up from the thousands of Mark Zuckerberg wannabees toiling away endlessly. Which is why I found this article on so valuable...

10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using -- Now by Neil Patel
You should read the whole thing but here is the abbreviated list

  1. EditFlow
  2. TweetReach
  3. ArgyleSocial
  4. Hootsuite for IPad
  5. TweetLevel
  6. ReFollow
  7. TwitterSearch
  8. Traackr
  9. SocMetrics
  10. Social Scope

Why Videos Go Viral- CBS News
Apparently, YouTube's Kevin Allocca knows how to make videos go viral. He should know, as his TED talk on the subject is getting picked up everywhere, including on this hunble blog. Good job, Kevin!

The secret sauce? Taste Makers, Communities and Participation, and Unexpectedness.

Content Marketing Delivers Traditional PR Value Too - Chris Parente
I'll just go ahead and quote my good friend Chris-

All that said, a well crafted and executed content marketing program can also deliver more traditional PR benefits like awareness and earned media placements. This was clearly illustrated recently for one of my B2G clients. The company sells commercial satellite communications to the government, a market that is going through significant changes due to the federal budget climate and corresponding cuts in Pentagon spending.
My client’s senior management are focusing on this market evolution with thought leadership content that is both candid and creative. In the past two weeks, this content has resulted in tangible market benefits such as:
  • A blog post being mentioned verbatim in a government agency presentation on the state of the market; 
  • An offer to repurpose a blog post as a a full page byline, again verbatim, in a leading industry trade magazine; 
  • An offer to expand a blog post into a 2,000 word article from a leading academic journal. 

All these benefits from a program designed to directly support revenue growth. The choice isn’t always black and white. A well executed content marketing program can deliver many traditional PR benefits along the way to measurable ROI.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Reading List

During a special lunch-time event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Facebook's CTO Bret Taylor introduced a number of new industry-wide initiatives for the mobile web. Facebook is also working with a number of other vendors to define better web standards that can be implemented across devices to ensure that users can get a consistent mobile web app experience across devices. The Core Mobile Web Platform, as this new group is called, will work to ensure that there are very specific mobile web standards that developers can expect to be available across devices and mobile browers.

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine  -

  • Work on one thing at a time until finished. 
  • Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’ 
  • Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. 
  • Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time! 
  • When you can’t create you can work. 
  • Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers. 
  • Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. 
  • Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only. 
  • Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude. 
  • Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing. 
  • Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy -

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.
Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:  
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it. 8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview with Matt Langan- Social Media and Content Marketing

Last week, I interviewed marketing consultant Matt Langan on the Straight to the Point podcast series. Matt is the CEO of L&R Communications and is also the editor-in-chief of, the nations preeminent geospatial intelligence blog.  

Two years ago, as social media was starting to be adopted by marketers targeting the government customer, Matt and I had a great discussion about how companies needed to adopt a more aggressive content marketing approach in order to successfully grow their government business.

What has changed since then? Did our predictions turn out to be accurate? 

You can listen to the podcast here: Interview with Matt Langan

What did we cover?

  • How the slow economic recovery is influencing marketing budgets?
  • Are marketing executives rotating funds into social media and content marketing?
  • How important is social media to achieving marketing objectives now? 
  • How important is mobile marketing to the marketing mix? 
  • What marketing trends do you see that are going to impact the industry most over the next few years?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview with James O'Brien- Part 1: How to Get Started with Mobile Marketing

Last week, in the first of a two part series, I interviewed mobile marketing consultant James O'Brien on the Straight to the Point podcast series about how companies can get a mobile strategy started and where mobile marketing is headed.

I've known James for twenty years and admire the expertise he gained from working with commercial, political and government clients in his career. An expert in online marketing, email compliance and privacy regulations, James is the founder of J Obrien Global and is currently a partner with MobiMKT, a mobile application development agency.

You can listen to the podcast here: Interview with James O'Brien- Part 1: How to Get Started

What did we cover?

  • How marketing is being transformed by mobile technology and the movement of the audience onto mobile devices
  • How important is social media to achieving marketing objectives now? 
  • How important is mobile marketing to the marketing mix? 
  • For a firm without a mobile strategy, what is a good first step? 
  • What marketing trends do you see that are going to impact the industry most over the next few years?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

All Companies are Publishers Now- Are You Making News?

Have you really taken to heart the idea that social media channels require new kinds of content? Are you really making an effort to create stories that people will value, or are you still just tweeting your press releases?

You (and your company) are a publisher now...don't believe me? Do you believe the New York Times?

Read, Blogging Site Tumblr Makes Itself the News, by Brian Stelter.

The takeaway?

By creating in-house content, social Web sites can increase the amount of time that users spend on their sites, thereby increasing their value to advertisers.

Andrew McLaughlin, a vice president at Tumblr, said that in telling stories about its users, the company wanted Mr. Mohney and Ms. Bennett, the only two hires for the time being, to “do real journalism and analysis, not P.R. fluff.”

“Of course, it’s obviously in our self-interest as a company to surface more compelling stories about creators on Tumblr; at the same time, though, we think Chris and Jessica will be able to do so in ways that embody professional rigor and first-rate writing,” he said in an e-mail message.

In the savage battle for mindshare, web traffic and influence, do you have ex-journalists and editors crafting professional stories, or did you assign that job to the twenty-something who is on Facebook all day?

Something to think about...

Friday, January 06, 2012

A Look Ahead to 2012

As I'm swinging into gear after a long holiday season, I'm reading a lot of articles with predictions about how marketing is going to evolve in 2012. I've linked to two below.

I agree with a lot of what these two authors wrote, but I think they leave out the continued integration of sales and marketing, via the social media content development process.

Marketing Predictions for 2012, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Huffinton Post

1. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.

Throughout 2011, you heard me saying "mobile, mobile, mobile". In 2012, I predict the mobile wallet will be the next big thing. With more and more online companies like eBay, Amazon, PayPal, using the mobile device as a platform to make instant online purchases, we're now seeing technology built into smartphones that allows customers to swipe their phones rather than their credit cards at retail outlets. Banks are really taking advantage of this technology and offering their customers a new level of service. This is a space marketers need to not only be aware of, but be involved in.

2. Social - Crowdsourcing vs. Friendsourcing

Crowdsourcing is a cool tool for spot surveys, quick answers, and general engagement, but friendsourcing is about trust: reaching out your most valued advisers -- the people you really know -- and finding out what they think. These people can be your close friends, colleagues, or mentors. However, they can also be your brand ambassadors--the social media friends and followers you've built those relationships of trust with over your social media network.

3. On-Line Qualitative Market Research

2012 will be an exciting year for the research industry. It is clear that the shift to on-line qualitative research has begun and likely to accelerate in the coming year. The need for deeper and richer insights to support making better marketing and business decisions is critical. Companies must be prepared to act fast. This category is rapidly growing and the corporate researchers that make the move will be best positioned to be the winners in this new game. It is a business imperative in my opinion.

Search and Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2012, Alex Wall, Business 2 Community

2011 brought us Google+, Siri on the Apple iPhone, the Internet cloud, the Panda updates, and widespread changes across every major search engine and social platform. With all of these new technologies at our fingertips, the only thing that remains uncertain is what changes and challenges the New Year will bring. With that in mind, here’s our forecast for search engine and social media marketing in 2012.

Prediction #1 – Search and Social Will Become Irreconcilably Intertwined

Bing took a bold step when it upped the ante on social signal integration in May 2011 and pooled data resources with Facebook. You may have noticed that when you search through Facebook, beneath your standard Facebook search results is a listing of Bing-powered Web results.

By the same turn, Bing began to incorporate social signals from Facebook, creating a more personalized search experience for its users. It’s important to point out, however, that this isn’t a seamless integration. You have to sign in to Bing and use your Facebook log-in credentials in order to see the effects.

This integration is similar to – and, in fact, nearly mirrors – Google’s integration of Google+ social signals and +1 indicators. By using likes, retweets, and +1s as votes of confidence, these search engines are pooling the collective intelligence of your trusted social connections to influence the search results that you find.

As social media plays an increasingly larger role in the search algorithm, social media marketing will become a necessary component of SEO, likely to the point that they will nearly be indistinguishable.

Prediction #2 – Customer Interaction as a Vital Marketing Strategy Component

In 2012, Facebook will reach 1 billion users, and social network profiles have become an extension of modern identity as much as, if not more, than our cars, cell phones, and homes. Social signals have become a part of search, Google has started to index Facebook comments, and Google+ has started to play a native role in search engine results pages.

If search and social are indeed wedded for life, the companies that will outperform will be those who find a way to manage customer relationships while balancing perceptions. This is a bigger task than a marketing department can handle alone, and calls employees and brand loyalists to influence consumer perceptions of brands, services, and products through the creation and sharing of organic Web content.

So what are savvy SEOs and inbound marketers to do? Stay engaged. It’s much easier to say than to put in to practice, we know, but in terms of staying power, long-term strategy will trump a viral YouTube video any day of the week, for not only brand recognition, but also for conversion.

Prediction #3 – Mobile Search and Social Will Grow Exponentially

Try though you might, you can’t keep hardware out of the picture – tablets have fundamentally changed the game of content consumption.

Studies have reported that as many as one-third of American adults use smartphones, a number that’s expected to grow. An entire generation of teenagers and adolescents are growing up using smartphones and tablets, so companies who optimize their strategies for mobile devices will benefit the most.

Online purchasing has been moving in an irrefutably mobile direction – Google has estimated that 44% of last-minute shopping searches originate on mobile devices. Click-through rates are already higher on mobile devices than they are for their personal computer corollaries, and location-based services like FourSquare, Gowalla, and Yelp continue to expand as they battle one another for geolocation supremacy.

Whatever changes 2012 has in store, the path to success will be one that integrates strategic search and social campaigns, and we expect that 2012 will also be the year of refined social ROI tools so that marketers can effectively and efficiently monitor multiple channels of interaction.