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Don’t Outsource Sales

September 5, 2013 Leave a comment

01_15_eset_robotI’ve said it before; the whole point of marketing is to get you, a.k.a. your sales team, in front of real, live decision makers. What happens if you outsource sales to technology or overseas? Here’s an example. My snarky additions are in parentheses.

Chat with: Visitor, Jeff
Jeff: Hello, thanks for contacting Preferred Law Team. My name is Jeff, may I have your name?
Visitor: Ben.
Jeff: Hi Ben
Jeff: How can I assist you?
Visitor: I was wondering who won the Alabama vs. Va. Tech game on Saturday? (A current event to assess who I’m really speaking with.)
Jeff: I see. Before we proceed, may I have your phone number and email to better assist you?
Visitor: Certainly.
Jeff: I see.
Visitor: Are you software or an outsourced, overseas agent? (When I first thought I wasn’t dealing with a human.)
Jeff: I am sorry as I am not allowed to disclose that information.
Jeff: Is there anything else I can help you with regarding our services?
Visitor: Are you human, or are you dancer? (Thanks Killers!)
Jeff: This is a real person
Visitor: So why didn’t you answer my first question?
Jeff: Our areas of practice include (but are not limited to) Real Estate, Finance, Civil Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Corporations, Partnerships, LLCs, Bankruptcy & Foreclosure, and Entertainment.
Jeff: Can you tell me a little about your case?
Visitor: Your response questions my belief in your humanity…
Jeff: I see. May I know about your legal matter?
Visitor: Can you answer my first question?
Jeff: I apologize, I don’t have access to that information
Visitor: It’s in the chat transcript. Hint…scroll up…
Jeff: Well, I’m not allowed to answer general questions. For more details you can also contact our office at: 801-727-4290.
Visitor: Can you help me with my delinquent mortgage?
Jeff: Would you mind explaining a bit more about your case?
Visitor: My mortgage is delinquent…and so is my child. Can you help with either?
Jeff: The attorney can help with this. Would you like to speak with someone on the phone?
Visitor: Why can’t you help Jeff?
Jeff: I’m sorry, I’m not an attorney and as such am not able to answer specific legal questions or give legal advice. May I have someone from our office contact you? They can assist further.
Visitor: So are you a lead gen bot?
Jeff: For more details you can also contact our office at: 801-727-4290. I’m sure one of our staff member will be happy to help you.
Jeff: Thank you for contacting Preferred Law Team.
System: The chat session has ended. (Way to hang up on your prospect!)

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Admittedly, I didn’t know a thing about this company except for an email they sent me. However, what they sent piqued my interest and I responded…only to get the proverbial phone hung up on me when I asked too many questions.

Would you trust your marketing budget to a technology based or overseas team?

2012 in Review

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

The 10 Commandments of Social Media

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

The most interesting man in the world gets a new calling.

I’ve been feeling guilty about all the changes taking place in social media without throwing in my own thoughts. Here I present the 10 commandments of social media:

1. Thou shalt have no other significant media presence than online – Sure you can throw a few bucks to placate your ad rep, but know real tracking, real engagement and real results are happening online.

2. Thou shalt not communicate drunk – Don’t tweet, blog or Facebook drunk. There will be fewer faux pas and you won’t be slizzerd to your next meeting, update or post.

3. Thou shalt be transparent – Real engagement takes place when people feel a real connection. Faking reality won’t get you anywhere.

4. Thou shalt obey thy client – Never forget your client knows their product, their service and their client better than you. Embrace it as an advantage. Don’t discredit your client.

5. Thou shalt remain professional and not steal successful campaigns – Copy, borrow and perform homages to successful campaigns you didn’t pull off, but to your own self be true. Don’t be derivative…unless it’s clever in a way the world has never seen before!

6. Thou shalt remain on topic – If you’re talking about your client, then talk about them! Not your other clients, not you, not your beefs with the world…

7. Thou shalt not cross promote clients – If client Y is paying you to talk about client Y, why are you actually talking about client Z, temp project B and pet cause J? Unless you have specific permission from all interests mentioned to cross promote, keep things as you contracted. Talk about client Y and Y related subjects on their channel. Form a separate campaign for client Z. Find the proper alliances for temp project B and leave pet cause J to the proper channels.

8. Thou shalt not disparage competitors – Your client may be the greatest iteration of sliced bread since, well, the first iteration of sliced bread, but social media is not the medium to put down chunked bread or torn bread or pre-chewed bread. All are worthy competitors to your client. Let your client’s audience form their own opinion.

9. Thou shalt not lie…about your client – If your client wants to lie about themselves, let that be on them. You’re the social media expert! Lying is not part of your game, or is it? The simple truth is situations thrown into the light will develop their own answers. You can not lie with social media…for long. So don’t do it.

Eventually, you will be found out. That’s what I teach anyway. Hiding things in this age only invites closer scrutiny. My biggest fear is the person that exposes all for a temporary sense of freedom and release.

10. Thou shalt schedule posts for your day off. – I worked retail for many years. One of the best lessons I learned was that of delegation. With social media, it may seem a day off isn’t possible. I suggest delegating to technology what we have to work for now and that is providing content.

Tools like HootSuite and Twitter allow users to schedule posts in advance or retweet other good content that can be made to show up on a blog. If you want to get real creative with syndicating content, use the Posterous bookmarklet to add a comment to an article you’re reading and then publish the quote of the story and your comment to your site as a new post! Posterous even provides a link back to the original source.

I’m sure this is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s certainly a start. Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

How to Network for a Job Using Social Media

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Groupon & Living Social Cover Story

June 16, 2011 2 comments

What is the Value of Twitter?

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

People who don’t “get” Twitter often ask me what it’s really good for. Charlie Sheen isn’t the only one getting some mileage out of the microblogging service. I tell people it’s a real-time search engine. If there’s one takeaway from this article for you, I want that to be it.

In the example above, I asked a question about something I didn’t know about. Within minutes I had an answer…from somebody I trust. While I don’t know this person in real life, I do know their expertise and found it to be trustworthy. I also received responses from two other people I didn’t know with a few other suggestions.

My biggest concern was finding a host with easy WordPress installation. I know what’s a competitive price for hosting and Dreamhost was slightly higher than what I’d been paying. I checked out Dreamhost’s site from a link in their Twitter profile and everything looked good. When I went to sign up, it asked for a discount code. I didn’t have one, so I Googled it. Within seconds I found one that discounted the price $97. For $22, I got a year of hosting with a one click WordPress install.

It’s not all the way up yet, but my new SEO website is at least presentable. That is the value of Twitter.

How to Add RSS to Facebook

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment
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Mark Zuckerberg Comes to Utah

March 26, 2011 Leave a comment

In what he claims was his first speech at a University, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at Brigham Young University in Provo this morning. Along with Senator Orrin Hatch, Zuckerberg answered pre-selected questions for about an hour.

The format was pretty well suited for the large crowd of about 10,000, but to me seemed to be more about Hatch than Zuckerberg. Nevertheless there were a few good takeaways.

Business takeaways

Zuckerberg was pretty humble about his success. He claimed though he is the public face of the company, nothing would get done if it weren’t for the other employees of Facebook. How does he do it? “Make sure everyone you add is really great.”

Though the service has 600 million users, Facebook is only composed of 2000 employees. Leveraging technology and an open source platform creates that kind of scalability. Zuckerberg said the company has a philosophy that “an independent developer should always be able to create something better than a big company.”

Regarding entrepreneurship, he said the biggest attribute any business person needs is to “love and believe in what you’re doing.” There are many challenges along the way and he concluded with my favorite quote, “No normal person would want to build a company.” Normal people wait for things to happen. Exceptional people make things happen.

Facebook

There were some general questions asked about Facebook that I thought Zuckerberg provided some insight into. He said Facebook solved a human problem. We look at Facebook as a technical phenomenon, but the core of its success is it solves a human problem of how to connect with people we know. In Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, he said successful people solve interesting problems and that’s the key to keeping yourself essential in our modern economy. Mark Zuckerberg has done that.

He pointed out with Facebook, we can stay in touch passively with people and still maintain the connection. My personal experience supports this and I’ll bet yours does too.

Transparency and Change

Alluding to the political climate in the Middle East, Zuckerberg said “transparency would be transformative.” However his development of Facebook was clearly for business. “Businesses can’t hide behind a big corporate veil anymore.” Neither can governments, the media or any other public organization.

When pushed on the political aspect, he said the Internet gives everyone a voice. Additionally he claimed more connection equals more empathy and a project within Facebook is physically demonstrating a rising number of connections between people in Israel and neighboring Arab countries.

Hopefully Mr. Zuckerberg will be back to Utah and provide more insight. Thanks to Senator Hatch for bringing the Facebook founder to Utah.

How to Add Photos to a Facebook Business Page

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment
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The Future of Online Marketing

March 23, 2011 1 comment

Last week I was asked an interesting question by the Chairman of the company I’m working for. He had just heard me present for 50 minutes about the power of social media.

He said, “We may be ahead of the curve right now, but our competitors are going to catch up. If we adopt your strategies, where will we be when the competition does too?” (Paraphrase)

I said, we’ll still be ahead. The reason is simple – we understand social media. The future of online marketing is people will no longer search for what they want to buy, they will ask their friends/contacts for recommendations or the needed information will naturally come to them.

I’ve been thinking and teaching this for a while…but I didn’t know how it was going to happen. Now I know how and the unanswered question is when.

Let me elaborate. Tonight I attended a conference put on by Kynetx which featured tech blogger and evangelist Robert Scoble. For three years Scoble was a second public face for Microsoft and he has

made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.

Frankly, I really went to see him, but Phil Windley stole the show. Dr. Windley is a top Utah technology blogger, CTO and co-founder of Kynetx. Basically Dr. Windley explained how relevant content would be instantly delivered to web users…without having to track user’s personal information.

The Kynetx version is called the “Live Web” and could bring consumers conveniences like knowing automatically when their refrigerated food is going to expire. (That data is already on the bar code.) How about automatically generating an expense report based on flight info and foursquare checkins?

Kynetx may not be the company that creates, defines or owns this market, but they’ve certainly got a chance. Regardless, someone will. Imagine only seeing online ads for things you’re interested in. No more spam!

How about news? Only see the topics you’re interested in. Never see another headline about (insert your least favorite sport, celebrity, politician here.) If you ever want to hear about that topic, you’ve got a friend on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn who is an expert and will share.

Now that we know the what and the how, the question is when. That’s exactly the question I asked Dr. Windley and Mr. Scoble when I got the opportunity to speak with them. Neither would venture a guess. That’s a fair answer too. It’s not about the technical ability, it’s about the controllers of the data/technology giving it up. The tech exists now, it’s a matter of coordinating it all.

Proprietary information is what creates value. However, we’re looking at a system where information yearns to breathe free, but businesses still need to make a profit. That’s where the delay lies. Until a profit model is demonstrated, consumers are going to be stuck in the current model of spam and unsolicited herbal Viagra ads.

Marketers are stuck in a sort of purgatory right now too. We know the old methods don’t work, but management insists upon using them. Forward thinking management wants to see a return on investment for their social media marketing dollars.

I’m of the opinion the smartest investment, whether business or personal, is in connecting with people. Connecting, not selling. When the Live Web or Web 3.0 comes around…and it will…sooner than you think…the business/person/brand with the best people connections will come out ahead. If you can manage that task cheaply and effectively through social media…it’s even better.

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