The Marketing Companion

disruptive strategy It seems everywhere you go these days people are talking about Disruption as the next big business "thing." There are packed disruption conferences, disruption books, disruption consultants. But here is the nagging question I've had tumbling through my mind. Is it really possible to be strategic around disruption?  Is it possible for disruption to be a plan ... or is disruption the explanation of what happened after the fact? I've been conflicted on this because it runs counter to what I've learned and experienced. In graduate school I had the amazing experience of classes from Peter Drucker just as he completed his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In my mind this is the finest book on innovation ever written! Some of main points of the book include:

  • Effective innovation is continuous, not disruptive
  • Almost all innovation aimed at disruption fails. Let others fail and then pick up their pieces (Apple has been brilliant at this)
  • The most effective entrepreneurs manage innovation in a way to minimize exposure and risk.

Obviously these lessons from the master have had a big impact on me. They formed my key approach to innovation for more than a decade. This is why it has been difficult for me to jump on the disruption and Cult of Failure bandwagon. Of course disruption happens. But can you really MAKE it happen any more than you can MAKE "viral" happen? So it was timely when my friend Billy Mitchell of MLT Creative turned me on to an article in The New Yorker called The Disruption Machine by Jill Lepore. In this brilliant piece Lepore dissects the famous The Innovator's Dilemma (an argument against continuous improvement) and makes a compelling case against Disruption as a strategy. This article became the cernterpiece of the latest Marketing Companion podcast between myself and Tom Webster. The synaptic connections were really humming on this one as we debate the idea of Disruption Strategy. I think you'll love it:

Other resources mentioned in this podcast:

The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to do About It)

Podcast on 3D printing as a disruptive technology

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael Porter

Book links are affiliate links.

MLT Creative is an occasional business partner and an advertiser on {grow}.

Direct download: TMC.27.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 2:24pm EST

disruption There are so many shifting sands on the marketing landscape that it might seem overwhelming. But there are two trends that deserve to be on your radar screen and that is the topic of the latest scintillating edition of The Marketing Companion. After Tom and I enjoy a non-traditional gift exchange for the one-year anniversary of the podcast, we dissect what we believe to be important trends to consider moving forward:

1) The use of "big data" to actually predict mega-trends and market outcomes

2) 3D Printing.

The second one might seem a little strange to list as a marketing trend but if you listen to the logic on the podcast I think you'll agree that this could have a huge impact on cost and price, delivery, availability, sourcing, distribution models ... well, just about everything marketers should care about. What's that you say? You want to get to the freaking podcast and fast? Well here it is, with no further delay!

Direct download: TMC.26.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 4:08pm EST

invisible blogger By Mark Schaefer My friend and podcast co-host Tom Webster recently penned a really honest and thought-provoking post called "Authorship." In the post, Tom laments that the more he guest posts and syndicates his writing, the less relevant he may become. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but he makes some good points. The web cares about CONTENT, not necessarily authors, and Tom postulates that in our frenzy to write and distibrute content, we may be creating more and more work only to become less and less visible. Are you getting lost in the ether of the blogosphere? Are we writing content that benefits others while our own authorship gets buried? It is a very different conversation from what you usually see on the web and we thought this topic would make an extraordinary podcast ... which it did. We cover a lot of ground, including:

  • Should you find your audience, or let your audience find you?
  • What is the benefit of syndicating your content? Statistically, it may not make sense!
  • Is the age of the independent blogger over? Has the paradigm shifted?
  • Where are the new voices in the field? Are there any?
  • Can a solo blogger compete with corporate sites?
  • What is the true ROI of "exposure?" What is the risk of over-exposure?

You're probably half-crazed by now waiting to hear this podcast so let's have no further delay: Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Gini Dietrich's post on the end of the independent blogger

70 Rising Social Media Stars

Blogging platform Medium

Twister (analog version)

Direct download: TMC.25.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 11:56am EST

rube goldberg
How do you get it all done?
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this question ... well, I wouldn't be rich (let's be honest) but I could probably treat you to lunch. google pants recall
It seems that people have an endless curiosity about how I get things done. Tom Webster and I thought marketing lifehacks would be a very interesting podcast topic -- and it was, because Tom and I had some pretty divergent views on tech solutions versus old-school lifehacks to manage a busy schedule. Some of the topics we covered:
  • Multi-tasking
  • eMail management tricks
  • Tricks to staying disciplined and focused
  • When to out-source tasks and what to out-source
  • How do you handle business upsets
  • Dealing with the tyranny of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
  • The "Swiss Army Knife" of marketing tools
  • Productivity on the road
  • Hacks for expense reports
And wait ... there's more! Where else you can hear about the hottest Internet sensations FaceMat and iTwister? Nowhere but here:
Companies mentioned in this podcast:

 

Direct download: TMC.24.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

fix google plus Whether you think Google+ is dead, dying, or still on the rise, one thing is certain: something has to change. This post will tell you what and why. Google+ was meant to take on Facebook. This is an economic imperative for a company built on: a) collecting personal information that can be turned into ads and b) finding ways to have you spend more time on their sites so you can see those ads. Facebook was capturing a disproportionate share of our personal information and Google had to do something. Their aim was to build a better social network and expose all of Facebook's flaws. You could argue that it did that ... so why is Google+ in turmoil? (And it is). The reason Google+ has never gone mainstream is because the world does not want a better social network, It wants a COOLER social network and Google+ is not cool with the young people who could move it into the mainstream.

It's not about tech. It's about cool.

Facebook is vulnerable as Millenials move into other places like Snapchat, Twitter and Kik. Google is simply not on the radar screen of the folks who are going to determine the Next Big Thing. High school kids don't give a damn about better SEO results. They want to be cool. Instead of building engineeringly-beautiful new features and integrating with other Google products (who trusts that any way?) Google should hire Bruno Mars or Katy Perry to be the Google+ spokesperson and launch a massive media campaign to attract the hearts and minds of taste-makers under the age of 19. Marketing its products has always been a problem for Google and I think we're seeing this vulnerability in full view right now. There are a lot of aspects to this discussion beyond the Google+ cool factor (or lack of it) and that is the fodder for the conversation between Tom Webster and I on the latest Marketing Companion podcast.

  • Do we really need to fix Google Plus ?
  • If the numbers on Google+ up, why the organizational disharmony?
  • Is Google+ going to be another "fast fail" or a lasting part of the company's strategy?

All this and more will be revealed right now:

Direct download: TMC.23.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

tron bad guy A few months ago, my blog was a target for a denial of service attack. What this meant was that a "bot" was set up by somebody (in this case a person in The Netherlands) to hit my site over and over so many times that readers cannot access the blog. It was a random attack and this might seem like a pretty dumb business plan, but apparently a lot of companies are obsessed with breaking into my site ... and probably yours too. The result was that I had to spend many hours and thousands of dollars to recover from the problem and guard against future attacks. My hosting company set up an app that would send me an alert when somebody tried to log into my site five times in a row, I had to turn off these notifications when they started arriving every five minutes. That's right. New attacks were occurring hundreds of times a day! That gives you some idea of the relentless barrage of bad stuff coming at our websites. More seriously, some of these bad guys are getting through. You have probably read recently about a number of bloggers turning off their comments because of the new spam attacks that are getting through to their blogs. Anecdotally, it seems in the past few weeks more people are also suffering from websites that are hacked or crash under denial of service attacks. And of course, there have been several high-profile stories about companies experiencing serious data breaches that compromise their customers. All this makes me wonder ... Are the bad guys winning? In our latest Marketing Companion Podcast, Tom Webster and I explore this topic and much more. In fact, we begin with an enlightening discussion about the diplomatic opportunities for American bacon but then also get into:

  • Are we seeing smarter spammers or the unintended consequences of Internet complexity?
  • Does Google actually play an indirect role in spam attacks on small businesses?
  • What is the business cost to keeping the bad guys away?
  • Highlights from the new book Social Media Explained
  • A trick to get to the heart of social media strategy
  • New thoughts on measuring social media marketing ROI
  • A discussion on who should be leading your social media marketing effort

Ready to listen to this discussion? It couldn't be easier to do

Direct download: TMC.22.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

online radio In the newest episode of The Marketing Companion Tom Webster and I examine a brand new study from Edison that reveals some eye-popping new insights on podcasting, online radio and social media consumption. Some of the highlights of this podcast episode include:

  • Introducing "Poodle King" Webster and Social Media Explained
  • The explosion of online radio and the implications for content consumption
  • Extraordinary changes in podcasting content, consumption, and audiences
  • Mobile implications for content consumption and "digital snacks"
  • Surprising new numbers on Google+ (is it finally a real thing?)
  • The phenomenon of Instagram and Snapchat
  • Where is Facebook in the mix ... declining, growing in new ways?
  • Facebook as the "plumbing" for teens

Ready for more? Of course you are!

Direct download: TMC.21.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

marketing conferences

I go to a lot of marketing conferences and they are undeniably a great way to learn, network and stay up to speed on the human and technological breakthroughs that are transforming our business. But how are they changing? How important are they? Does it make sense to attend? To sponsor? This is probably a topic on a lot of minds as our personal time is compressed and travel budgets are slashed so Tom Webster and dove into this topic on our newest Marketing Companion podcast. Some of the topics we cover include:

  • The truth and myth of SXSW
  • The "beating heart" of great conferences and the one thing that can kill an event
  • Conference networking strategies
  • Large - regional - local conferences .... which are thriving, which are dying and why?
  • The conference "glass ceiling"
  • The minor leagues and the major leagues of marketing conferences
  • Conferences and content strategy

  • Are conferences becoming elitist?
  • Does it make sense to sponsor a conference?

Ready to learn more? Of course you are! Here we go!

People mentioned in this podcast:

Jay Baer

Mitch Joel

Gini Dietrich

Jason Keath

John Jantsch

Scott Monty

Direct download: TMC.20.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 1:26am EST

influence marketing is hot As many of our channels for reaching customers are getting strangled, brands are turning to new ways to connect and communicate with customers. One natural opportunity is to align with the authentic advocacy represented by bloggers and other powerful content creators. In an information-dense world where it is more difficult to become the signal instead of the noise, blogger outreach is escalating, providing both financial opportunity and ethical dilemmas. This dynamic provides fascinating and entertaining fodder for the latest Marketing Companion podcast. Tom Webster and I dissect some of the most important issues in the field today like:

  • Flout: The New Standard for Influence. Really.
  • Why bloggers are trumping mainstream media
  • A first-hand account of escalating influence marketing
  • Why 95 percent brands are stumbling in the influence marketing field
  • Stepping over the line -- Influencer or infomercial?
  • How to create raving advocates the right way

Hey! I'm ready to listen to this all over again! Are you ready?

Direct download: TMC.19.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 11:58pm EST

marketing mix A number of news items coalesced recently and made me wonder ... what is the true role of social media in the marketing mix today? How has it changed? Is it really about connection? Is it still a way to engage with customers? Or, has it been so overrun by agencies and programmed content that it is little more than advertising? Maybe you have been wondering the same thing? This is such a vital topic that Tom Webster and I decided to tackle this on the latest edition of The Marketing Companion. Have you listened to our podcast yet? If not, please give it a try. We always aim to deliver entertaining and thought ideas to help you through the latest marketing trends and you might have some fun along the way, too. In this edition, we explore:

  • The time element --- social media versus advertising
  • Estimating the sales power of social media
  • Weak links versus strong links and how this converts to sales
  • The correlation between share of conversation and market share
  • Social media at the top of the sales cycle and at the end of it
  • Is social media more like advertising or marketing?
  • A case study illustrating the impression power of social media
  • How will social media platforms re-invent themselves to ignite a "wow factor?"

Yes, we covered a lot of ground in just 30 minutes! Are you ready to give this a listen?

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading: A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Persuasive Psychological Manipulation Technique in the World

Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy

Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy

The results are in: A case study of social influence

Posts about Esurance Super Bowl ads referenced to in the podcast

Why the little guy won marketing's biggest prize

The missing link between awareness and action

The mind-boggling lunacy of people who were impressed with Esurance's Super Bowl ad

Direct download: TMC.18.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 3:00pm EST