Friday, May 30, 2008

The Other Side(s) of the Story

"American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more
terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it."

James A. Baldwin

Kudos to Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey for producing this great movie. If you haven't seen it The Great Debaters, please do.

I LOVE that these artists are using their power and influence and MONEY to tell important stories that don't often get told.

I also love the movie's thesis that "having a voice is critical to social change."

When I think about how long and how many black and other folks have been left out of our cultural discourse, I don't lament the fact that today's media is "crazy distributed."

Do over 100 million blogs make it harder to discover, "the truth?" Yes. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

If I have to choose, I'd rather have our collective stories - about the War in Iraq, the Recession, and Obama's Imminent Election to the Presidency :)- be debated, discussed and narrated by as many folks as possible. This seems like a much safer route than leaving the power of storytelling in the hands of the few. Unless of course, I'm one of the few! :)



This article by Steve Rubel, SVP at Edelman PR and author of Micro Persuasion, is "old." It was published in early 2006. But, as one of my favorite people says, "it's BIBLICAL." So I hope you'll take a look.

Here's is what MOVED me:
"Beyond the lack of confidence in the traditional sources of information lies a more fundamental change, a yearning to move beyond the simple act of consumption of information [my emphasis] to social networking. The rise of MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia is premised on sharing of content with a group of likeminded individuals. It is the wisdom of the crowd, with constant updating of content based on personal experience...There is sharing of content because now WE CAN [my emphasis] do it easily, quickly, and colorfully."


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunny in Sudan

So this is SUPER COOL! I conducted a webinar today (see slide show above) for prospective applicants of my organization's 2008 Technology Innovation Award and one of the participants was in SUDAN. Yes, the country.

This underscores such an important point.

With simple to use and very inexpensive technologies - like webinars - you can now CONNECT with, LEAD, TEACH, and LEARN from people from all over the world!

What does this mean for your mission? Your business goals? Your partnership opportunities? Your life?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Twitter or The Times?

Leyla over at Cause X Effect blog has a nice piece about media consumption.

A self-proclaimed news junkie, Leyla reads multiple papers and scans hundreds of news feeds per day. Even so, she professes that she's just as likely to get breaking new via Twitter as The Times.

For those of you who don't know, Twitter is a technology somewhere between e-mail and blogging, which enables you to stay in touch with friends in real-time. You create a Twitter page online and do mini blogs posts during the day.

Here's what I'm thinking.

1. The media you choose to promote your cause can and should be varied. Figure out where your target audience LIVES on and offline. And then have conversations via those channels.

2. Your "audience" isn't only listening to you! They are listening and getting the news from their friends, colleagues, and trusted advisers.

In our "Connected Age," media consumption is about both WHO and HOW.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Who Own Your Relationships?

This post by my frolleauge (friend and colleague), William Masson is SO good that I urge you to read it in full.

In addition, here's my humble take.

1. You want to OWN your relationships. This gives you PERMISSION to stay in touch and staying in touch leads to greater donations, sales, activity.

2. Unless you have a cellphone number or an e-mail you don't OWN your relationship. Why? Because you can't reach the prospects, you can't court them, you can't take them to lunch. :)

3. Get serious about developing your contact list. All marketing starts with a good list. Ask everyone to subscribe, all the time.

4. Be a good steward/friend. DON'T EVER take your relationships for granted. "Do unto others and you would have them do unto you!"



Making a Media Log

If you want to know the best way to reach your customers/donors/volunteers/members/etc. ask them to make a media log.

For example, yesterday I spent approximately:
  • 10 hours on e-mail (I have 3 e-mail addresses)
  • 1 hour blogging (here)
  • 1 hour on my cell phone (when driving to and from work)
  • 0 hours on my home phone (I HATE having a home phone.)
  • 0 hours watching TV (No cable.)
  • 3 hours listening to the radio (89.3 for the Jazz or 88.5 for morning news)
  • 3 hours in meetings or face to face conversations (mostly at work)
  • 1 hour reading magazines (I just subscribed to DWELL and REAL SIMPLE.)

This means a few things.

1. If you want to reach me in real-time, your best bet is to catch me on e-mail .

2. I'm a captive of the radio during drive time.

3. I rarely take calls on my home phone.

4. Some days I spend a lot of time in the office at work.

You get the point.

If you're going to be a successful marketer or communicator you have to use the right media for your message. The right media is ALWAYS the media your prospects use.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words

You've heard this refrain one thousand times. Probably because it's true. Don't forget to tell your story with images. Visuals often help people to connect to a cause.

My dear friend and super smart colleague, William Masson, author of Recklessly Accounting, forwarded this website from a new start up called Lucid Design Group. They are working with colleges and businesses to SHOW energy use. Nothing like SEEING a visual like this to get you REALLY thinking about your "carbon footprint."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blogging and Humility

Take a look at this list from Seth Godin called, What Every Good Marketer Knows. It's great food for thought. I particularly like his last point that blogging makes you a better marketer by teaching you humility.
This is true.
Good bloggers are REAL. They have to be in order to survive the open, transparent, naked environment of the blogosphere.
This is good.
Humility breeds trust and self-confidence and compassion - all key ingredients for becoming a better communicator.
This is hard.
It's so seductive to think that you can hide behind your boilerplate.


What Every Good Marketer Knows by Seth Godin

  • Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.

  • Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.

  • Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.

  • Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.

  • Marketing begins before the product is created.

  • Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.

  • Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.

  • Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not.

  • Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

  • Products that are remarkable get talked about.

  • Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.

  • You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.

  • If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.

  • People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

  • You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

  • What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.

  • Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.

  • Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.

  • People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.

  • Good marketers tell a story.

  • People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

  • Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.

  • Effective stories match the worldview of the people you are telling the story to.

  • Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.

  • A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.

  • Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world. Marketers are responsible for the side effects their products cause.

  • Reminding the consumer of a story they know and trust is a powerful shortcut.

  • Good marketers measure.

  • Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.

  • One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.

  • In the googleworld, the best in the world wins more often, and wins more.

  • Most marketers create good enough and then quit. Greatest beats good enough every time.

  • There are more rich people than ever before, and they demand to be treated differently.

  • Organizations that manage to deal directly with their end users have an asset for the future.

  • You can game the social media in the short run, but not for long.

  • You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support and you market every time you send a memo.

  • Blogging makes you a better marketer because it teaches you humility in your writing.

Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Just Got a Refund from Amazon

I have to admit, I still feel guilty ordering books from Amazon. While it's good for me - the service is SO easy to use, books arrive QUICKLY, they give me great RECOMMENDATIONS on what to buy next - I know I'm contributing to the commoditization of the book market and this means that I'm helping to put some smaller booksellers out of service.

This shows that I'm selfish. It also shows that I'm overwhelmed by my varied responsibilities and don't want to have to spend time buying the reference and entertainment materials I want.

Gosh, as if I wasn't feeling guilty enough, Amazon just sent me a REFUND. Talk about good business/good marketing. I didn't even know this REFUND was due to me. Now it will be EVEN HARDER to take my business somewhere else.

Do something REALLY nice for a client, donor, volunteer, partner, or customer today. I guarantee that it will make them feel more LOYAL to you.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Marketing in a Connected World

My friends at Network for Good put together LOTS of great slide shows and webinars and whitepapers to help us all get better at and remember the BASICS of good marketing. I was perusing some of the presentations that they've put out in Cyberspace for FREE and slide 50 in the presentation below caught my eye.

We Are Not the Best Messengers!

Think about it. When is the last time you trusted the advice of a total stranger? When is the last time you purchased a product or service simply because you saw it advertised on TV?

We're just too skeptical and too guarded and too overwhelmed to trust the advice of just ANYONE.

Much better than to rely on the advice, suggestions, and recommendations of our friends. This is what new social technologies enable us to do.

1. Send our ideas, thoughts, content, requests out to the world via the Internet through myriad vehicles - blogs, charity widgets, search results, Facebook pages, Flikr, etc.
2. Find and connect with folks that share our passions.
3. Develop relationships (aka communities) with like-minded folks.
4. Request and take collective action.
5. Hope and pray that others will also take up the charge and then LET THEM DO IT in their own more authentic, creative, funny, smart, ever-helpful WAY.

Again, We are NOT the Best Messengers. We are just stewards of information and - if we're lucky - sources of inspiration for others. This is marketing in a "Connected World!" This is good marketing period.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Looking for Mr. Donor Right or for Nonprofits

Don't tell anyone, but before I got married, I spent some time on "Match" as it's known by insiders (Did I write that?) is a social networking site for dating.

If success on Match can be defined by meeting lots of people, my experience was a SUCCESS! Here's what I learned that you can apply to your own "outreach" efforts. You'll have to e-mail me for the juicier details!

1) Have a good profile - As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousands words." Choose wisely!

2) Know who you are - This is easier said than done. Spend some time with your "inner brand manager" BEFORE putting forth your best face.

3) Know who you're looking for - There are lots of "donors" out there. But you're not looking for any old member; you're looking for Mr./Mrs. Donor Right! So be articulate, be clear, and get to the point!

3) Speak up- Similar to other social networking sites like Facebook and Care2, E-mail, IM (instant messaging), and Chat are THE way of life. So regardless of where you decide to "fish," be prepared to join the conversation.

4) Meet up - Let's face it, it's hard to truly know what you've landed online. So plan to meet up offline as well. In other words, suggest various ways for connecting to your new suitors!

Here's to getting lucky!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Publish You!

Another cool new tool to share your organization's research, case studies, reports, i.e. nuggets of wisdom online.

Start here or here or here. Try it!