The Marketing Companion (social media marketing)

We talk a lot about influence, but what is the true goal of influencing? Persuading. While I was far afield in South America for the past few weeks, Tom's wife Tamsen sat in for me in this episode of The Marketing Companion. Tom and Tamsen talk about the relationship between influence and persuasion, and what it really takes to not only make an impact, but to change behavior. Persuasion has a number of elements, and you can't truly persuade without understanding your audience -- not just the story you want to tell them, but the information they want and need to hear or read to achieve their own goals.  Ultimately, any successful marketing initiative takes time, and has to incorporate a "mosaic" approach to branding -- some persuasion happens in the moment, some over time. Tom and Tamsen dissect persuasion from both a speaking and writing standpoint, and offer advice for marketers that is more than 2,000 years old, but still holds true. The key to changing behavior is balancing the appeal to reason, the appeal to emotion, and the appeal from credibility. Most content marketing misses including all three, which creates a gap between what the marketer wants to communicate and what they actually do communicate. Along the way, Tom and Tamsen also discuss a number of marketing concepts, including:

  • The role of word-of-mouth and reviews
  • The difference between how we buy and how we DECIDE to buy
  • The problem with the "marketing funnel" and why customer journey models oversimplify consumer behavior
  • Why marketing is just pattern recognition
  • The fourth component to persuasion that technology has enabled
  • The problem with modern sales emails
Also, Tom and Tamsen wax poetically about the Ronco Bass-o-matic, and they present the first edition of the Cirque du Companion, an audio feast for the senses, including the talents of:

Ready for more? Here we goooooooooo ...

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

 
BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!
 
Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.
Direct download: The_Elements_of_Persuasion.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 4:05pm EST

In our latest edition of The Marketing Companion podcast, Tom Webster and I explore a couple of fascinating topics. The first is that marketers seems undeterred by the fact that most corporate content is not working, at least in a measurable way. Various research reveals that content marketing is not seen as effective by a majority of marketers, yet content creation budgets continue to rise dramatically. In our podcast, Tom Webster described content marketing as "an uphill slog" with the value of content "rapidly approaching zero" due to the flood of helpful and quality content that's available. But Tom points out that "Marketers have to do something, and this is that something." Is FOMO -- the fear of missing out -- driving a high level of content creation when the metrics don't seem to pan out? We explore the psychology and economics of this enigma, pointing out:

  • Many marketers have a short-term focus and do things day-to-day hoping that the accumulation of activity means something.
  • Google's impact on declining content value
  • The fact that content marketing takes time. Marketers may be exhibiting patience.
  • Google Analytics does not measure everything that is meaningful. We don't know the slight adjustments in the views of our readers/listeners/viewers with each piece of content.
  • Over time, marketers will spend money on the media that can be measured. There will be a flight to better-quality channels if content marketing cannot be better measured.

The other topic we discuss is courage in marketing, inspired by a talk by Jim Stengel, former CMO of Procter & Gamble. Mark and Tom look at two different examples of courage in marketing:

The new episode of The Marketing Companion is filled with big ideas and I know you'll enjoy it. Resources mentioned in this episode We referenced the creative commercials featuring the character Flo from Progressive. Doug Kessler of Velocity Marketing The post How Google ruined content marketing by Chad Pollitt

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: Courageous_marketing.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

It's not often that you see a blog post that makes you think, discuss, and maybe even a little sick to your stomach but that's what Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo achieved with his controversial post "The Future is More Content." Steve has put out some thorough, well-developed thought leadership pieces over the years and this post is among his finest because he brings up an ugly topic we choose to ignore -- that swarming the web with content -- maybe even crappy content -- is a legitimate strategy. It's a topic I've covered in The Content Code book and in a recent podcast episode -- when you get it down to it, the best content marketing strategy is to create "Content Shock" for your competition by finding an unsaturated topical niche and then thoroughly dominating it to the point that you attract most of the Google juice. If you don't believe me, try competing with Hubspot in the content space. In a follow-up post, Chad Pollitt of Relevance goes a step further to explain that Google actually encourages quantity over quality. Perhaps their algorithm is hurting their own customers! Steve Rayson's article points to several examples where the "quantity" strategy is occurring. He points to the Washington Post strategy of increasing their publishing rate to attract more views. He furthers his argument by noting that cost of content is coming down which will rapidly enable a "quantity" strategy. We'll soon have computer algorithms creating loads of crappy content for us at very low cost. In fact, it is already happening. Steve mentioned to me that companies like Automated Insights are offering to produce 1,000 blog posts for $250. Are the posts any good? Maybe they don't have to be. Steve argues that the future of content marketing is quantity, not quality. Of course this goes against the conventional wisdom of almost every content marketing guru around these parts, but here's the truth -- Steve has only revealed the dirty little content marketing secret everybody knows but doesn't want to acknowledge: quantity can beat quality. At least in some cases ...

Quality still matters, mostly

When you have a business model that depends on "eyeballs on ads" then driving page views at any cost may make sense. But if you are a business (like mine) that is trying to attract loyal customers who stick around and actually do something, then the quality  model is probably the way to go. Let's use Steve Rayson's posts as an example. I never miss his articles because he always delivers in-depth, data-driven content. And he usually writes long posts -- but not too often -- so I can keep up with them. If Steve started posting 250 posts a week, the first reader he would lose is me, and that would be a shame because through his content, I have become friends and a collaborator with Steve ... which is how content marketing is supposed to work when you are trying to establish thought leadership. When I get people unsubscribing from my blog (it DOES happen!), the reason most often provided is "too many updates," and I only publish 3-4 times a week. Even if I pushed that to 6-7 posts a week, I know I would lose a LOT of readers ... even though I might get a lot more "views" because the sheer volume is going up.

Viewers versus readers

There is one other very important dynamic here. When people do click through to a corporate site, the average time on a piece of content is 15 seconds. So do you really want views ... or readers? Nevertheless, Steve is mostly correct in his analysis and I think the only ones who protest the truth of what he is writing either skimmed the post or are in denial. In fact, in the near future most content marketing may be turned over to the machines. I have this image in my head of those swarming bots in the The Matrix Trilogy hunting down unsaturated long-tail niches and then overwhelming the little opening with thousands of pieces of content. Of course this will happen. Rather depressing to think about, isn't it? I suppose at the end of the day the only "Neo" hero we have in the content marketing world is either to be the content curator or to be the brand trusted above all others. If we can create content that is un-missable, unmistakable, and un-copy-able we might have a chance ... but let's explore this idea a little more, shall we? Tom Webster and I dive over the crappy content waterfall in our latest Marketing Companion episode. We punch holes in the quantity versus quality debate as well as revive our plans for CompanionStorm, a listener conference featuring Kanye West (kind of). You'll have to hear it to believe it!

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.
Direct download: Content_quantity_wins_out_over_quality.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 5:25am EST

I received a pretty big shock recently, a discovery that made me re-think who I am and what I know. For many years I have enjoyed digging into my family history. For many of us in the U.S. -- nearly all of us immigrants -- our family tree has tangled roots and uncovering where we come from can be an obsession. Most of the Irish side of my family came over during the potato famine of the mid-1800s. Some of my German ancestors where actually craftsmen in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. But one Dutch side of the family seems to have the longest history with America and in some way, the most sad. I recently discovered that one ancestor from this line of the family was a slave-owner in Virginia.

The mind game

This possible scenario for many Americans who have a long heritage in the country, but to actually have this ugly fact staring you in the face is unsettling, at least to me. To think that something in my distant blood had something to do with slavery just makes me shiver. And the mind game I pay is ... if I lived in that era, would I have been any better, or would I have just gone along? Psychologically, the justification for slavery was upheld by the leaders of the community, businesses and even the church, in some cases. In a rural Virginia village of the early 1800s, there was really no place to go for a dissenting point of view. There was no Internet, no Google, no television, no radio ... I probably wouldn't even have had access to a major newspaper. If I was cut off from the outside world, would I have any opinion beyond what I absorbed and repeated from the leaders in my isolated community? I'll never know if I would have had some sense of justice or if I would have fallen in line with the family business. I only have hope, and maybe sympathy, for the struggle of my made-up 1800s self. But what about today? That sort of information isolation is a thing of the past. With access to unlimited information, knowledge, opinions and insight ... is it any easier to be a a critical thinker and make an informed decision? The answer might surprise you.

Social media and critical thinking

Here is a grand irony. In this modern day, we have the accumulated knowledge of the human race in the palm of our hand, and we use this device primarily to rant about politics or share cat pictures. Although we have the infinite opportunity to learn and consider opposing views, the level of critical thinking may be no better today than the people who had access to no information in the 1800s. We're too busy to think, too busy to dig for truth.

  • A recent study showed that in general, people use social media to connect to like-minded people in their local communities instead of learning about other views and cultures.
  • Patricia Greenfield, a developmental psychologist, found that any screen-based technology we use, including video games, will certainly enhance our visual-spatial skills, but only at the expense of developing other mental abilities, including critical thinking, knowledge acquisition, and imagination. She said the rapid-fire reward of video games and text messaging could be a cause of the three-fold rise in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) over the past 10 years.
  • Researchers at Stanford gave a series of cognitive tests to a group of heavy social media multi-taskers and another group of light users. The heavy multi-taskers were found to be more easily distracted, less able to control their working memory, and less able to concentrate on a task when compared to the light multi-taskers. 

What does this mean to marketing?

So this very weird thing is happening. We have more information at our fingertips than at any other time in history and the technology may be depressing our ability to think, process, and think critically. Technology does not give without taking. Tom Webster and I have been discussing some of our observations in this area. It appears to us that people simply believe -- and repeat -- almost anything they hear from business gurus without thinking. We're seeing this lack of critical thinking so often that we decided to address it on our podcast. Also, in this episode we take a stab at upgrading our Millennial reach by introducing a Would You Rather segment. You'll learn why Tom would prefer to crap his pants in Starbucks and Mark can rock a thong. You are probably gripped with anticipation for this Marketing Companion episode and thankfully relief is in sight. In fact, it's right here.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.
Direct download: The_enigma_of_critical_thinking_and_marketing_today.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 6:34pm EST

I used to be a big shot.

  • In my corporate marketing days, I was among the top 1 percent on the company organizational chart.
  • I was awarded seven patents and I earned two masters degrees.
  • I closed the biggest deal in the company's history, worth more than $5 billion in sales.
  • I earned a big salary and managed a highly-visible team of global all-stars.
  • I had received two Chairman’s Awards for outstanding achievement, a stock award that was the highest recognition in my company. As far as I know, I was the only employee who had earned this twice.
  • In my position as Global Director of eBusiness, I was the company’s go-to guy for anything Internet.

My corporate life was a frenzy of activity. I was getting hundreds of emails a day, conference calls at all times of day and night, and lots of new opportunities and recognition. But I had also been dabbling in some entrepreneurial side businesses and, once I my kid’s college tuition was paid for, I decided it was time to re-invent myself and venture out on my own as a business owner, consultant, and college educator. I will never forget the eerie thing that happened the morning of my first day out on my own. The frenzy was over. No emails. No calls. No meetings in Paris. No communication of any kind. I was experiencing the Veil Of Silence!

A new equity of online influence

In my company, I was well-known and respected. But now that I was starting over, nobody knew me. Nobody knew -- or cared -- that I was a big deal just 24 hours ago. On my first day as an entrepreneur, I was the go-to guy for nothing. True story. When I started my new consulting business, my first two customers were a college kid trying to start a local catering business and a real estate agent. My first professional speaking gig was before the Lions Club in Farragut, Tennessee. The fried chicken served at lunch was delicious by the way. I had gone from being a person who was wined and dined atop skyscrapers in Shanghai to a fumbling entrepreneur building an entirely new reputation, and an entirely new brand, from scratch. Talk about a humbling experience. But in less than five years, I built a brand reputation that opened up consulting assignments with some of the biggest companies in the world, including Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, and The U.K. government. I wrote best-selling (really) business books. I was in a position to give speeches at convention halls filled with thousands of people. I’ve lectured at some of the world’s top universities and was even a guest speaker at a European “think tank” that had attracted famous authors and diplomats like Nelson Mandela.

The new path to power

My path to re-invention was filled with mistakes and bad habits that I carried over from the old corporate world. And this is what I had to learn the hard way: There is an entirely new paradigm of power in the online world … or what I call the new “equity of influence.” Here’s what I mean. In the carbon-based world of a traditional corporate office job, these are some of the things that help create power and influence:

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Achievements
  • Number of direct reports
  • Control of scarce resources
  • Where you went to college
  • Executive relationships/sponsorship
  • Awards and certificates
  • Size of office

… there have even been studies that show how tall you are, how good-looking you are, and how you dress contribute to personal power in the “real world!” But on the Internet, none of this matters. Nobody cares what your title is. Have you ever tried to tell somebody on the Internet what to do? Nobody can really tell how tall you are, how rich you are, or what family you married into. It just doesn’t matter any more. In fact, there is only one thing that counts today, only one source of power and influence when it comes to the online world. And it is this. To be known.

The imperative of being known

I was recently invited to be a speaker at the next Social Media Marketing World. I've collaborated with Phil Mershon from SME for five years now and I count him as a friend. Yet, in our conversation he admitted that he had no idea where I had worked for most of my life, what I did, or what I had achieved before I was a blogger. When you get down to it, the only reason I am a speaker at this event, or any event, is because I am known. And, if I ever faded away for awhile, I probably would not be invited again. So where am I going with this? Being known has everything to do with your success, too. Where do you want to go with your career and your life? What’s next? Do you want to ...

  • Write a book
  • Establish a speaking career
  • Become a consultant
  • Be named to a prestigious board
  • Stay relevant in your field for many years
  • Build a helpful personal network
  • Be recognized by your industry peers
  • Obtain a teaching position at a university some day
  • Be seen as a leader in my industry
  • Put yourself in a position for a promotion outside your current company

I often have people ask me how they get to this next level in their career and in the process of helping these people, I kept finding myself providing the same advice over and over: “Well, to achieve that, you have to be ... known.” One of the favorite quotes that I used in my book The Content Code was from the international pop star Taylor Swift: “Today, artists get record deals because they have fans – not the other way around.” You may not think of yourself as the type of person who needs to attract “fans,” but I think the general idea here is relevant to nearly any career path today. Nobody is going to hold your hand and help you up that ladder any more. You need to be accountable for your own success, recognition, and brand. Your dream “record deal” might be a promotion, a contract to write a book, or an invitation to speak at an industry event. It is very unlikely that will happen unless you’re known, unless you have built up your very best Digital Self. This is a fascinating topic and the primary discussion point of our new Marketing Companion podcast episode. Tom Webster and I start with a humorous bit about the Marketing Olympics and proceed to a spellbinding account of what it takes to be known today. You won't want to miss this.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: The_importance_of_being_known.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 7:16am EST

If you read between the lines, Facebook just told us it’s going to become a lot more expensive to be in marketing soon. In their recent blockbuster earnings announcement, CFO Dave Wehner said something interesting: Facebook’s ad load, or the total number of ads the company can show to each user, will be a "relative non-factor for predicting Facebook’s future revenue growth starting this time next year."

Translation: Facebook is about to max out on the number of ads it can show users inside its platform, which means it will need to find other ways to grow the company’s ad business in the future. Simply increasing the number of ads it shows people will not be an option.

The optimal ad load is really a mix of art and science,” Wehner said. “We also want to be thoughtful about making sure each person’s overall feed experience has the right balance of organic and ad content.”

This was surprising to analysts, as evidenced by the fact that many of them then asked Facebook’s executives to elaborate on what this means.

So what does it mean?

Monetization options

It means that Facebook will need to do three possible things: 1) add more users, 2) create better-performing ads that it can sell for more money, or 3) find creative new ways to monetize our personal information.

Facebook’s user base is already growing — it added 60 million new users last quarter alone — but the “create better ads” part seems more difficult.

Facebook will either need to do a better job proving its ads lead to sales, which it’s already trying to do, or offer more premium ads, like the commercials you might see on TV.

A few years ago, I wrote a post called Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is not Sustainable which predicted this eventuality. As companies compete for limited attention span, the cost of marketing will have to go up as the channels “fill up" with content. In essence, this is what social media platforms WANT to do. The more Content Shock they can create, the higher the prices they can charge for ads. Let’s look at what’s happening over at Snapchat, the newest marketing darling. To monetize its popular platform, Snapchat recently began inserting ads between customer stories. Customers are pushing back. They piled on to Snapchat to get away from ads! But here they come. How many ads can Snapchat display? There is a limited ad inventory, and as that gets sucked up by eager marketers the price will go up and up. Eventually some companies aren’t going to be able to hang in that environment for long. It will be just too expensive. For some companies, it already is. As content popularity increases, it costs more to promote and compete. It's a great discussion topic for our new podcast episode and in this edition of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I break this down for you. We also get into some other interesting topics:

  • Why Silicon Valley firms need to move to Dayton, Ohio. Seriously.
  • Twitter's new branding effort -- Is it finally getting on track?
  • Is there anything unique about Twitter's content offering? Tom and I disagree on this one.
  • Plus, Tom introduces some ... unusual ... new applications from the Marketing Companion Labs. Absolutely hilarious!

Ready for this? Let's go. Resources mentioned in this podcast The book Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons Who is Nipsey Russell any way? New certificate program -- Rutgers University Online Content Marketing Course

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour! Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool

Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: Why_Content_Shock_is_coming_to_an_ad_near_you.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 6:06pm EST

Should children be exposed to graphic violence on Facebook without your knowledge and consent? Is it a widely-available broadcast channel like TV that should be regulated, or is it something different? The social web has created amazing opportunities to learn, discover, connect, and have fun. But with the advent of innovations like live streaming video, horrifying images of terror and violence are becoming a more common staple of our news feed. Facebook's "terror policy" is pretty weak. In fact, it has proclaimed boldly that any live stream -- no matter how controversial or ghastly -- is welcome on its live video platform unless the violent act is celebrated. So, for example, if a hostage is live-streaming a beheading, that's deemed appropriate content for a Facebook live stream. If a hostage live-streams a beheading and says, "The infidel got what he deserved," it would be deleted by Facebook because it glorifies or celebrates violence. The violent act itself is OK ... it's the intent of the person filming that determines whether it is appropriate for public consumption or not. Kind of a weird line, but that's the Facebook guideline right now. As of this moment, there is no way parents can absolutely guarantee that their children will not be exposed to horrific images on Facebook, not through Facebook or any third party app. Even if Facebook tweaks its algorithm to be age-sensitive, these videos could be seen through a share, by viewing another timeline, or by searching for the content. Shouldn't we have a right to NOT see horror?

Should Facebook be regulated?

In the United States, there are regulations in place to keep obscene, profane, and violent content away from children on radio and television. Cable channels and subscription radio are not covered under these regulations because they're considered "subscriptions." Since there is so much free "cable" video streaming around on apps these days, you might debate whether some of the regulations are dated or not, but clearly the government has a regulatory intent to protect citizens from content that is obscene or violent. There is no reliable filter in place to moderate violent content on Facebook -- wouldn't the government intent extend to this channel too? Facebook might argue that a person has to opt-in to its service, like subscription television channels (although it's free). So it is more like a cable channel than a network broadcaster. But isn't opting into Facebook similar to opting in to owning a radio or television? There are no ongoing subscription fees or commitments. The government recently ruled that the Internet is a "utility" like water or electricity. It is essential to modern life, not an optional subscription service. Should Facebook be regulated? It's a delicate issue, but make no mistake, this IS an issue. Or, is it?

Where is the debate?

What shocks me is that as I researched this topic, there is no discernible national debate on whether Facebook should be regulated like other broadcasting services. I found a few blog posts in 2010 on Facebook and regulation. A number of articles were written recently when it leaked that Facebook had a liberal bias and a very loose process to manage its trending news feed. But Zuckerberg addressed this bias issue through a meeting with conservative leaders and the topic has gone away. However, violence in our news streams is just beginning. Live streaming is a relatively new innovation. And there is no fool-proof safeguard to keep horrific content away from the eyes of children. Shouldn't this be a topic of national discussion? Can't we expect some option that gives parents the right to keep horrific content away from their children? This is important. Let the debate begin here, on The Marketing Companion podcast. In our latest episode, Tom Webster and I tackle this head-on. We also offer a different slant on the Pokemon craze and disclose new research that signals real trouble for the television industry. And, we reveal the 2016 edition of The World's Worst Apps that help you with everything from poop to passion. Ready for this?

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com,

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: Should_Facebook_be_regulated_.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:49pm EST

Is the psychology of content consumption changing? That's the central idea behind an amazing new discussion featured on The Marketing Companion podcast. Have you tried our free Internet radio program yet?  You'll have to hear this podcast to believe it -- the first order of business is the introduction of the world's first audio emojis! But then we get serious. Tom Webster and I get into some discussions that are guaranteed to get you thinking about the nature of content and content consumption today. This 30-minute episode includes ... Why Snapchat may be the most important communication channel on earth right now and how the "cognitive costs" of this platform will keep it relevant even when grandma joins in. The dramatic behavioral shift in consumer content streaming behavior. It appears that a massive psychological change is underway and there is more widespread trust in the cloud. There are some trends here that will amaze you. Facebook's random acts of strategy. The company is introducing new concepts and then stopping them, experimenting with newsfeeds in weird ways, and promoting new functionality in a seemingly random way. Does the company really have any strategic plan, or are they demonstrating an enlightened model for innovation in the digital age? Does Facebook need to be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission like other broadcasting channels in the U.S.?  Is the rapid development of technology exceeding a government's ability to understand it and discern possible threats and opportunities? ... Pretty cool stuff, right? Now it's your turn to step right up and experience the fun and excitement of The Marketing Companion, the world's most entertaining business podcast.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today's consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.

Direct download: The_new_psychology_of_content_consumption.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 2:35pm EST

Each year, Mary Meeker compiles a wide-ranging report on the top Internet trends on behalf of venture capitalist firm KPCB. The report goes on for 213 pages. And do you have time for that? No! That's why Tom Webster and I distilled the report into the profound marketing trends that will have the biggest impact on you. Some of the ideas we cover in our new podcast are:

  • Why "viral" is more is more viral that ever and how Facebook Live will become the ultimate in reality TV and a revolution in journalism.
  • Why self-driving cars will dramatically change our behaviors and unleash new personal productivity.
  • The economic battle for your business may get down to music, movies, books, and switching costs. Will Facebook need to get into the music business?
  • The game-changing technology of voice recognition accuracy.
  • The malignant complexity of data and the vulnerability of a "single-source" supply channel.

Pretty interesting stuff? If that wasn't enough, it's the third anniversary of The Marketing Companion and Tom and I have a traditional gift change to remember. Let's get to it! Resources mentioned in the podcast: Jeff Jarvis Blog post on self-driving cars and the future of content

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free Discovery tool.  Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative.

Direct download: Marketing_mega-trends.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 11:43am EST

In our new episode of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I explore a theme of marketing challenges to rise above the increasing noise levels to connect to our customers. It's a difficult proposition and getting harder all the time. Some of the topics in this jam-packed 30 minutes of marvelous audio content include:

  • Rising losses from ad-blocking are pushing marketing dollars into new places.
  • An unlikely source of content innovation -- printed magazines and books.
  • Innovations to merge games with serious editorial content to drive page views and engagement.
  • Surprising insights on what almost every marketer is missing when it comes to creating effective video content.

And if this wasn't juicy enough, Tom and I introduce a star-studded new motion picture: "Chatbots: Revolution" starring Sean Connery, Marge Simpson, and Slurry the lovable Marketing Companion Chatbot. You are not going to miss this are you? Let's find our marketing signal. References for this podcast Ad blocking to cost $12 billion Kickstarter project for print-only tennis magazine Most people watch with the sound off Washington Post new story form and games  

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty, the best weekly curation of digital news.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights to take your marketing to the next level. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

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Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out! Affinio is an advanced audience intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Using our deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio is able to analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user.  Affinio’s customers use this data to: Build in-depth data-driven personas; Understand their audience; Conduct competitive analysis; Identify ideal influencers and sponsorship opportunities; Build data-driven content strategies that resonate; Place highly targeted ads with data-backed creative. "

Direct download: Cutting_through_the_marketing_noise.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:02am EST