Sunday, May 5, 2013

Winning Campaigns!

Using real-time media to sway opinion 

I love this! The next time your boss, investor, parent, etc. questions the power of social media, show them this cartoon (then cooly spin around and walk away with a little extra swag).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Power to the People

It's time for marketing to get real(time)

 Millions of dollars are spent creating and maintaining a perfect brand. Like Andre Agassi used to say: “Image is everything.” But in our always-on, easily-connected, real-time media world, perfection doesn’t fly. Nowadays, the public’s BS meter is so fine-tuned that perfection registers as fraud. It’s time to lose the wig!

 Real-time marketing must take chances—or at least feel like it is. As soon as companies resort to corporate speak (dynamic! innovative!), most people tune out. And after months of stagnant audience growth or no obvious sales boost, many firms simply stop social marketing efforts all together. This is shortsighted, wrong and dangerous. Traditional marketing’s power is waning.

The Yelp Effect
We’ve evolved into a world where a positive review from one unpaid online influencer is worth more than a million-dollar traditional ad-spend.

Many smart companies are aware of this. For example, Microsoft feeds early information to people they’ve identified as influencers. In turn, these people spread the word through their network.

Establishing these strong, trusted relationships requires hard work and risk—something real-time media lends itself to and traditional marketing simply doesn’t. There’s no conversation with traditional and without conversation, there’s no relationship.

Like inbound marketing guru Seth Godin says, you can no longer market to the anonymous masses. You can only market to willing participants. Make real connections and it’s fairly simple: Because of the networking effect, if you find ten people who love, trust and respect you--you’ve won.

Your idea spreads faster than you could ever imagine, and best of all they WANT to hear from you. You’ve become indispensable—every marketer’s dream.

Pobody’s Nerfect
To have the best shot, hire smart people to run your real-time marketing program and then get out of the way. Let them bring humanity to the work. Will there be mistakes? Absolutely. Not everyone will have positive things to say about you or your product. And…that’s…OK. (Thanks, Stuart Smalley!)

Think about the people you enjoy being around in your life. Is it the fake people? Those who claim to be perfect? No, of course not--you respect and build relationships with the honest ones.

Bring something real and we’ll tell you why your product, service, message, etc. does or doesn’t work. Let us fall in love with you and we’ll shout it to the world!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fiscal conservatives owe US a shot

It’s easy to be fiscally conservative once you’ve made it. Why take on debt when you’re already flush with cash? But in order to acheive wealth, most people had to take on debt/fiscal risk at some point--Donald Trump’s companies have claimed bankruptcy 4 times.

Don’t get me wrong--I salute anyone who’s got the courage and smarts it takes to build a successful business and a comfortable life. And I get why, once you’ve made it, you’d want your government to spend conservatively. Slow growth suits you just fine. But for those who are just scraping by (and a lot of people currently fall into this category), austerity does zero good.

Besides, financial success creates more conservatives; they should be happy to give others a shot at it. But if for no other reason, conservatives should remember: they needed help once too. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oreo's Real-Time Ad Victory

The Harbaugh brothers weren’t the only ones game planning during last night’s Super Bowl.

At an event where companies spend millions on adverstising, Oreo’s ad agency, 360i, scored a marketing touchdown for much, much less money.

While you were re-upping on chicken wings during the blackout, Oreo blasted out a clever tweet:

Power out? No problem.

Timely, funny and memorable, the ad reminded viewers “you can still dunk in the dark” and swept across the Twittersphere like a sun flare. It was retweeted over 15,000 times and people are still talking about it today.

If such a thing existed, the team at 360i would have received the game’s Advertising MVP award. The only flaw I see is not using the #SuperBowl hashtag, which would have boosted its inital audience. 

So how did a 100-year-old cookie company create the most innovative marketing feat of the Super Bowl?

360i’s president, Sarah Hofstetter, told BuzzFeed that, along with Oreo’s brand team, they had a mission control set up at their office during the game in case an advertising opportunity arose. When the blackout happened, they capitalized.

Without question, other companies should and will start implementing this type of strategy. Done smartly, social marketing and news-jacking creates an experience that all the money in the world can’t buy: a personal connection. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Déjà vu: Contrarian Investing

It feels like this happened before. It feels like this happened before.

Look out, folks...The market’s booming and it seems like the party will never end. Not even Apple’s 15% plunge could derail this gravy train.

But as we rocket ever closer to all-time highs, it’s important to pump the brakes and glance in the rear view mirror. 

When things seem too good to be true, it’s usually time to sell. And vice-versa.

It was just 17 months ago that I urged people to start buying stocks because sentiment had turned so negative. Since then, the S&P 500 has returned over 27%. 

Of course, trying to guess short-term market direction is a fool’s game. No one except Ms. Cleo can predict the future. But time and time again, having the guts to zig while everyone else zags pays off.

I’m not saying sell everything--this rally may have steam left--but it makes sense to trim back some of your high-flyers and reinvest the cash in more defensive, dividend-payers. 

Or for bolder, bearish investors, take that money and invest in TZA (Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3x Shares), a hyper-aggressive, leveraged ETF that can deliver big returns quickly if the market moves down.

Note: TZA should only be used in the short-term and with “play” money. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NFL Reviewing Brady, but Bill's the Criminal

Instead of reviewing Tom Brady's slide in the AFC championship game this past Sunday--Tommy made a kicking motion as Ed Reed came in for the tackle--the NFL is overlooking the game's most egregious offense:  Bill Belichick's coaching performance.

Bill, who's brilliance typically buys the Pats a few points per game, put together one of his all-time worst performances.

For starters, Bill owns the most prolific offense in football, guided by the league's most consistent QB, yet decided to punt from the Baltimore 34, 35 and 42-yard line. He was playing scared.

On top of this, he acted like a baby and refused to talk to reporters after the game. Scared and childish...not qualities we look for in elite coaches.

Listen, there's no one I'd rather have coaching my football team, but Bill's performance in the past few BIG games has been embarrassing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama's Call to Action

Now it’s time to finish what we started – let’s get going.

High-stepping into his second term, President Obama offers a challenge to America’s compatriots: come together and serve. 

Blaming our inept Congress for all life's ills has turned into a national pastime. But is Congress really what’s holding this country back? The president knows if we truly want change, it’s up to us to get it done.

And as Warren Buffett sagely pointed out on CBS’s Sunday Morning show, “What is right about America just totally dwarfs what’s wrong with Washington. 535 people are not going to mess up 315 million over time. I know it.”

That's not to say positive change comes easy, there's a reason Obama said “We, the people” five different times in his inaugural speech. Meeting our challenges will require the best of all us, 315 million people working together. 

This is our journey, our time. Let’s not waste it.

For those needing a nudge, is a great place to start.