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Cause-Me-to-Wretch Marketing: How Not to Change the World

Two Things You Need to Learn From This Post:
1. We will see more and more cause marketing campaigns use social media (for better and for worse).
2. The successful ones will put the cause first and the brand a distant second.

A More Detailed Exploration:
Last Thursday, Ben Kunz from Mediaassociates.com asked me on Twitter:

Do you think @bmorrissey is right? Could SM (social media) cause marketing become SM (social media) pollution?

Ben and I enjoy trading contrarian opinions and I respect his perspective, so I went to check out Brian Morrissey’s post entitled “Here Come the Brand Social Marketing Bribes” about Kraft’s current marketing campaign.
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Using Social Media To Drive The New Ford Fusion Hybrid – Lessons on PR

Ford is changing cars and PR

Ford is changing cars and PR

So I got this email last week.

Hi, Don

On Wednesday, May 13, Ford will be stopping in Indianapolis to host a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid “open house” starting at 10 a.m. at The Westin Indianapolis, Capital One Room, 50 South Capital Avenue. It’s part of a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid cross-country tour – 33 cities over 60 days.

The all-new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is getting a lot of buzz lately. In recent news, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid achieved an astounding 1,445.7 miles on a single tank of gas driving a total of 69 hours. It is the precursor to Ford’s planned line of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which Ford plans to place on the market in 2012.

Speaking at the open house will be Lisa Drake, chief engineer, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technology, to talk about and demonstrate the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid including Ford’s state-of-the-art SmartGauge technology. During the presentation Lisa will discuss Ford’s goals to have best-in-class MPG ratings for all vehicles in the Ford lineup as well as new Ford technologies like EcoBoost, which will be available in half a million Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles over the next five years. She will also touch on the importance of sustainability and working jointly with environmental stakeholders.

Following the presentation, you will then have the opportunity to take the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid for a test drive.

I really hope you can come out and join us. Please let me know, I would love to have your feedback!

Cheers,

Janine

I thought “Wow, this is pretty cool.” I wonder what I’m doing on Wednesday. Crap, I have too much work to do but maybe I can find some time to go.

But here’s the interesting part. I don’t know Janine – we’ve never spoken before. She found me – like many others in cities across the nation – by researching my blog and Twitter feeds. more

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Why should you be using Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter for your business?

Listen, these technologies are just tools.  Just like your fax machine (if you still have one of those) or your email.

It’s a tool for communication with other people.  When email came out (does anyone remember life without email?), some people embraced it.  But others, you know, struggled, they fought it, but then they finally had to give in.  And, of course, there were those that got confused and accidentally spammed the entire company.  That still happens.  But it doesn’t happen so much anymore.  And what companies do actual training on how to use email?  It’s just a part of life in the office environment and you should know how to use email.

Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter can all be the same thing – even if it isn’t called by these specific brand names in a few years.  Think companies won’t have an internal Facebook for communicating.  Think a Linkedin type tool won’t hold all your business and personal information.  What we are seeing is just the first shots at these tools.  Email has come a long way in a short time.  Don’t think that these tools won’t evolve as well. more

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Understanding Social Media in Simple Terms

Two Things You Need to Know from This Post:

  1. Social media helps people live, work, and play with each other (no matter the distance) by combining age-old ways of social interaction and the capabilities of mass media.
  2. You can create transformational change when you use the antennas on the mountaintop to provide a common message and inspire the people in the valleys to interact, spread, customize, and amplify your message.

A More Detailed Exploration:
We have always lived, worked, and played with each other. For most of our history, we did all this in small groups. These groups grew, spreading out across great distances and having great obstacles between us. As our technology has advanced, so has our ability to live, work, and play with others – both near and far away.

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How To Engage Customers When They Complain About You Online

One of the greatest values social media has given consumers in the past 5 years is the increased ease for them to share their experiences about the products and services they use. Unfortunately for some businesses, this has led to a an abundance of complaints and other negative online content created by dissatisfied customers.

A recent experience with an unhappy Sam Pierce Chevrolet customer prompts this lesson. Read below for the 6 steps to responding to a customer complaint online.

I’ve had a multitude of clients ask me “How can I stop these complaints?” and “I don’t want bad information about me online. Should I sue if the web site it’s on won’t take it down?”

No, you cannot stop unhappy customers from complaining. Online, or anywhere else. more

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Do business blogs work for you? Or against you?

A business blog can do lots of things so it really depends on the company. I can tell you that we are not a digital company that immediately says you need a blog.

We are a company that will find out what you want to do, find out what your audience really wants from you and then if a blog fits our strategy – well then, we’ll suggest you start a blog.

But that being said, I am a big believer in blogs. Right now, blogs are very good at doing lots of great things on the web.

What is Princeton Premier

What is Princeton Premier

Driving traffic (#2 from the guys at SEOmoz.org)
Spurring conversations – Check out Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
Giving business a real voice and personality (Chris Brogan and Bob Rhubart’s Comments
Search engines love them
But they can also suck. Here’s a good list for knowing if your business blog sucks.

We measure our business blog by the traffic it generates and the conversations it spurs. Our chief evangelist, ScottyHendo, is very, very good at getting conversations going. Some of his more intriguing ones are:

I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It
Why Chris Brogan’s Kmart Moment Matters: Personal Reputation vs. Corporate Brand

But he is amazed at how much traffic my little post about Princeton Premier has driven for our blog.

I wrote it merely as an example of how I used searching and social media to find out about a company and then make a common sense evaluation of whether I wanted to do business with them.

But the blog post itself remains one of our top posts and continues to drive traffic to the site. It’s on the first page of the Princeton Premier SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for Google and it continues to get comments.

I never really intended for it to do anything but be part of our voice to help businesses understand that if you aren’t out there in social media spaces and being a part of the conversation, others will do it for you. And it may not be the message you want.

For Princeton Premier, I think it is bad. Their site is number one but almost all the other links are blogs calling them out for being a scam.

The lesson here is make sure you are constantly making sure that you know what is being said about you on the web. I use SM2 and Google Alerts for both my company and myself.

And then if you find something bad, knowing what to do about it. MediaSauce has several solutions for this that range from contacting the person directly to establishing a siteless web presence with social media.

If you would like to learn more, just give us a call at 317.218.0500 or email.

But back to my original purpose of this post, business blogs do work if you give them time and you write about things that your audience wants and you tie it into your business. Don’t give them just fluff. Don’t give them that old school marketing spin.

If you don’t believe in business blogs, I would like to understand why. Give me your feedback and experience.

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Three Web 2.0 Tools Every Sales Force Should Activate

Connections are taking on a whole new meaning in the Interconnected Age – and sales executives that believe they can rely solely on the relationship building methods of days gone by are going to quickly become relics.

If you want your sales organization to help you gain market share in the digital age, they must be ready and able to connect; social media is quickly driving new opportunities to generate business.

At “Sales 2.0,” Bryan Gray and I layed out the critical need for sales organizations to outwit and outmanuever the competition – or risk being beat by smarter, more digitally savvy sales teams. (Watch the presentation below)

You can listen to the entire presentation here.

Build a culture

Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill that can turn our traditional sales force into a weapon for the digital age.  So those of us in sales leadership must start today to build a culture prepared to  compete as more and more customers choose to make decisions through the internet and not by RFPs, long sales proposals, etc.

We can, however, begin building a culture by getting our existing staff introduced to social media and give them the insight to start generating new business. Let’s face it, there’s no easier way to get sales people excited about new tools or technology than to show them the immediate impact these tools can make on their commission checks!

3 tools, all free

There are a multitude of fantastic Web 2.0 tools out there to generate leads from, but it’s important we get started with the ones that have the most immediate opportunity for impact. I guarrantee that if your entire sales force exploited the opportunities that these three free sites offer, they’ll make more sales and have deeper relationships with their prospects and customers:

Notice I said “exploit” not “use.” There is a significant difference. Just having a profile on these three sites isn’t enough. Adding a couple photos and occasionally sending out a connection or friend request is merely participation on the site.

In the coming days and weeks I will write a few blog posts on the MediaSauce blog about each of these tools. In the meantime, take a look at the presentation Bryan and I gave at “Sales 2.0″ for a quick look at the opportunities that these three tools create for you as you transform your sales organization for the digital age.

Today is the day to make a change in your sales culture. If you don’t, your competition will find a way to sell to your customers while you’re still trying to get a phone call returned for an appointment.

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“Proven” Methods Don’t Change The World

So every morning I basically do the same thing. I get up, get the kids fed and on the bus and then head to work.

Photo by Kevin Dooley

Photo by Kevin Dooley

It’s pretty chaotic in the morning. The kids make sure of that.

So when I get to work, I get to slow down right. Well, not really.

In the world of digital, there is so much going on. In fact it’s really chaotic. There’s new technology – like everyday something fantastic comes out – and there’s new techniques.

What I did yesterday, may not work today. There are no real standards – and I would question what your outreach company says if they say they have a “proven” method. How are you going to change the world with a “proven” method? If that is the case, then everyone would be using it.

I’m not staying that you don’t need stats or some kind of proof that the strategy and tactics will work. You should ask for examples of other successes but if they are suggesting that you do the same thing that someone else has already done. Well, then how is that unique thinking? How will that change the world for you.

I read this morning and had to print it out and tape it to the wall. Things I like make it to my wall.

It’s from Scott McCloud. And he says:

Learn from Everyone
Follow No One
Watch for Patterns
Work like hell

Love it. So how will you change the world today?

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If your products and marketing are boring, what’s that say about you?

Seth Godin had a great little post today called “You’re boring“.

It’s really quick so go read it.

I run into this thing all the time with marketers taking the safe route. Especially in this economy.

Grandma Iva Lee and Paul watching TV

Grandma Iva Lee and Paul watching TV

When you choose the safe and boring route, you make your potential clients tired. You make your staff tired. You make yourself tired. Oh, great. Here we go again. Boring story, boring brochure, boring website. Whoa, that made me tired just writing it.

The funny thing is that you choose this. You are the one that makes the decision to go for something that can change the world or at least your industry.

And don’t blame management. You may think they always shoot down your ideas but most likely they shoot down what you don’t fully believe in. That you are not 100% excited in. That you don’t fight for until you’re nothing but a bloody stump.

Don’t wait another day because if you do, you’ll lose that energy you have right now to fix this boring and tired place.

Email me and let’s figure out how to fix it.

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How LinkedIN is the Digital Age Sales Executive’s Secret Weapon

There are numerous digital and social media tools that are driving connections in the Interconnected Age, but none will play a more important role for successful business development professionals than LinkedIN.

Why? Because LinkedIN gives you the power to uncover relationships outside of your immediate social and professional circle, with minimal effort. These relationships and degrees of separation allow you to quickly move into new business opportunities without the old fashioned method of cold calling.

An Example of Using LinkedIN To Generate An Opportunity

Let’s say I’ve identified a way MediaSauce could collaborate with ChaCha, a leading mobile search company. I know that my idea to collaborate is big-picture and I want to talk with Scott Jones, the CEO and founder.

Without LinkedIN, I would have had to cold-call or email ChaCha to try and get a bit of Scott’s time. I may not know anyone who works there, so I have no “insider” edge. When I do finally make that effort, I’ll most likely be referred by his assistant to someone further down the chain.

But I want to go straight to the TOP of the organization. I want 15 minutes of Scott’s undivided attention to present my phenomenal idea. So, how do I get it? Enter the power of LinkedIN to open doors.

How James Burnes of MediaSauce is connected to Scott Jones of ChaCha.

By searching for Scott’s Profile on LinkedIN, I can look at his profile and discover that we have a common colleague: Jason Zielke. Jason and I know each other on a semi-personal basis through a mutual friend. Quick research shows me that unknownst to me, Jason works for Scott, leading his company Precise Path Robotics.

I now have someone who I can ask to help me open doors. Of course, the strength of my connection with Jason will likely drive his choice to get me that face-time I desire (or not). It’s quality of the network that makes it powerful, not just the size.

What if my  prospect isn’t on LinkedIN?

Let’s assume that Scott didn’t have a profile on LinkedIN…how could I connect to him if he’s not on there? Simple, because I that I might have connections to someone at ChaCha who works with him.

Who James Burnes knows at ChaCha

Rather than searching for Scott Jones, I’ll search for “ChaCha” to see who works there that I know.  My results display that there are 402 profiles with “ChaCha” mentioned in them.

The top of the list returns Courtney Adams. Of course, someone who’d I’d met a Web 2.0 event in the past! Now I can try to leverage my connection with her (even thought it is weak, it’s still more valuable than cold-calling) to request a meeting with Scott from the inside. Thank goodness I had taken a couple minutes the night after the event a few months ago to send invitations to link to me with all the great new people I had met.

Thus the importance to recognize that all of your connections, big and small, really play a bigger role in your future. And in Interconnected Age, those connections are your most valuable assets.

What should you do to take advantage of LinkedIN?

From that perspective, making sure that as many of your personal and professional circle is actively linking to each other on LinkedIN is critical. The more people you and I can encourage to use LinkedIN, the better our extended network will be.

On December 31st, I hit my goal of linking to 500 connections. Having 500 professional and personal colleagues then puts me within 3 degrees of separation to more than 4,000,000 professionals! See below:

James Burnes is connected to more than 500 people on LinkedIN.com

While I doubt that all 4,168,400+ connections I am now linked to through the network are prospects for my services, I know there are some hidden gems I’ll tap into in the near future.

By the way, if you haven’t already created a profile to LinkedIN…do it now! And then, make a religion of requesting the new people you meet are added as friends the same day you meet them. I end every day sending invitations to connect to the new contacts I meet. It’s easy and it can become a foundation for my digital relationship with them for years to come.

Remember: You never know when an otherwise common introduction may turn into a future deal. Use LinkedIN to capitalize on it!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use digital and social media to be more effective in your sales initiatives, attend MediaSauce’s upcoming event “Sales 2.0: Is your Sales Force Prepared For the Digital Age.”

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