I’ve Been Writing A Lot Lately, Just Not Here

I only update this blog occasionally because most of my writing these days appears on other people’s websites. But my blog is still my home base. Here’s a round up of what I’ve been scribbling about elsewhere of later.

Social is the Future of Search (Profitecture Blog)

BuzzFeed HQ

(Photo credit: Scott Beale)

What could possibly unseat Google as the king of the Web? The answer might be incubating in fast-growing media operations like BuzzFeed (right) and Upworthy. These publishers eschew search optimization in favor of creating content that people want to share. From an SEO perspective, they do a lot of things wrong. And they’re killing it online at the moment.

Marketing’s big miss (BtoB magazine)

A new McKinsey & Co. report reveals a startling disconnect between B2B companies and their customers that should give every marketer pause to reflect on his or her priorities. The research shows that the themes that B2B companies emphasize in their marketing messages are wildly inconsistent with the factors that B2B buyers care about most.

Short on content? Repackage (BtoB magazine)

A lot of marketers are frustrated by the perceived need to turn out a lot of content, but the problem is much more manageable if you reuse and repackage creatively. Here are some ideas for how to get more mileage out of the stuff you already have.

Rewarding Bad Behavior (Godfrey Blog)

Marketing and sales organizations at most B2B companies have a relationship that can be politely described as strained. Sales complains that marketing gives them lousy leads while marketers charge that sales wouldn’t know a good lead is it bit them on the nose.

Both sides are correct. That’s because many organizations reward their sales and marketing people for the wrong things. Improve lead quality and a lot of the bad karma disappears.

Altimeter’s Brian Solis: ‘It’s the Customer Experience, Stupid’ (Huffington Post)

Brian Solis at Upload Lisboa, Portugal.

Brian Solis (right) is one of the most consistently provocative and perceptive analysts in the world of new media and social business. I caught up with him shortly before his Pivot conference in October to find out what’s on his mind. He believes few CEOs know how dramatically their businesses will change as a result of customer empowerment. And he thinks any business can enchant its customers. Even one that makes hammers.

Five Important Differences Between Paid and Earned Media (Profitecture Blog)

Many marketers treat social or “earned” media the same way they treat advertising and direct mail, but the two forms of media are very different. Earned media is more valuable because people volunteer to share your information. This benefits small and patient companies disproportionately. If you talk at customers in earned the channels the way you do in paid channels, your results will probably disappoint you.


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Wisdom on the Future of Advertising

Max Kalehoff is one smart cookie, and this post about the future of advertising hits the nail on the head.

Some of his conclusions are obvious (Social Media Marketing Will Cease To Exist) but others require a leap of faith (Legal & Privacy Issues, As We Debate Them Today, Will Go Away). I agree with every single one of his 11 conclusions, however.

In particular, he notes that purpose will be more important than strategy and that trust will be absolutely essential.  In a world awash with choice, trusted intermediaries will be the most important brokers of influence.

What are you doing to build trust with your customers?


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Innovation in Anonymity

From Innovations, a website published by Ziff-Davis Enterprise from mid-2006 to mid-2009. Reprinted by permission.

I recently had two MRI scans on my back. Magnetic resonance imaging is a wonderful technology that enables doctors to see inside the body with depth and precision that conventional x-rays can’t match.

But MRIs are also mysterious and even frightening procedures for patients. A person is drawn inside a small cylinder and subjected to a series of loud noises for as much as 45 minutes. The attending radiologist told me that about 80% of patients experience some kind of claustrophobic stress, forcing technicians to frequently paused the procedure to calm them down.

I should have known about all this because my MRI provider’s website features a wonderful interactive experience that describes the benefits of MRI in a collage of high-resolution images and video tutorials. It also has a multimedia tour of the MRI experience that even includes samples of the odd sounds patients hear. This information would have been immensely useful to me if I’d known it existed, but I didn’t learn of the feature until weeks after the procedures, when I stumbled upon it in the context of a different discussion.

In fact, at no time during my interactions with people at the MRI center did anyone inform me that this resource existed. It wasn’t listed on the company’s letterhead or the preparatory documents sent to patients. A software project that had no doubt cost the company thousands of dollars was barely even referenced on the provider’s homepage.

Failure to Promote

This situation is all too common in businesses. Technology innovators dream up clever new ways to serve their customers and then don’t tell anyone about it. Customer service reps and automated voice response systems routinely refer visitors to generic homepages with meaningless statements like, “more information is available on our website.” But who has the time to go and find it?

Somewhere inside these companies a disconnect has occurred between the technologists and the people who interact with customers. Businesses assume it’s okay to hire service reps who haven’t a shred of technical expertise because those skills aren’t required to interact with the public. IT people are taught to do their jobs and then go home. Cooperating with others to promote the tools they build isn’t part of the job description.

But it should be. Today’s customers are too busy to spend time searching for resources they don’t know exist. The people who commission customer-facing projects may move on to other jobs or companies, leaving their creations without a sponsor.

IT people need to step up to the plate and promote the fruits of their labors because no one else is going to do it. Here are some steps my MRI provider could have taken:

If you are a as if it is a Promote the resource in printed documents – Health-care providers produce lots of paper, yet none of the informational documents I received even mentioned the website experience.

Post signs — A poster in the lobby or window could have alerted me to the existence of this great application.

Train customer service personnel — In my multiple phone calls with the clerical staff, no one recommended that I even visit the website.

Set up a lobby demo — PCs are cheap; why not make it easy for customers in the waiting room to learn what the company has offer?

This adds up to an opportunity missed for some innovative IT person whose creativity and hard work won’t receive the recognition it deserves. Don’t let your good work go to waste because you forgot to tell anyone about it.

New Marketing Expertise and a Special Discount Price

If you’re anywhere near the New England area, I hope you’ll join me, David Meerman Scott, Chris Brogan, Don Peppers and a host of other new-media marketing practitioners for a two-day forum that’s jam-packed with advice from experts in the latest online disciplines. And here’s a bonus: you get to see the inside of the Gillette Stadium’s fabulous conference facilities overlooking the football field where the New England Patriots play!

The event is the New Marketing Summit, and if you sign up with code PAULVIP, you get a $200 discount off the $795 registration.  Beginning today, you can also use that code to shave $50 off the fee for the Monday evening exhibits reception: That means for a mere $45, you can spend two hours on Oct. 14  perusing the latest new-media marketing tools and enjoying some fine drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Compare to an evening out in Boston; you can barely park for that amount :-).

David, Chris and I have worked closely with the experts at CrossTech Media to craft a program that we think represents the best of new marketing practices. A few highlights:



There are dozens of speakers, many of them successful practitioners who will tell what’s working for them and how you can benefit from their experience.

I’ll be opening day two of the conference on Oct. 15, speaking on the topic of  Profiting from Engagement: Why Content is the New Currency of Marketing. This represents my latest research and thinking on the market changes that are being brought about by a new breed of empowered customers who use their blogs, Facebook groups, recommendation engines and social shopping sites to define the terms of marketing engagement. Customers now largely control the brand and image of the companies they do business with. Don’t you think you should know all you can about those dynamics?

Please click the button above or the image below to register. That’s the venue for the event. Look me up when you arrive!


Gillette Stadium conference facility

Gillette Stadium conference facility