Posts Tagged ‘Rebel Brown’
It’s a (sometimes forgotten) truism of business that no company can cut its way to growth. As the economy continues to slowly recover from the great recession, smart leaders, having pared back spending during the lean times, are looking at how to invest for growth. Entrepreneurs are forming new businesses at an increasing pace, hoping to take advantage of new opportunities in the recovering economy. Workers across the spectrum are a bit less fearful and a bit more optimistic.
But the business environment has changed significantly in just the past six years since the start of the downturn. For example, no one was talking about the social employee as recently as late 2006, but according to Google Trends, search interest in the term has quadrupled in the past five years.
So investment in growth will return, but it will be different. How can companies tap the social exposure potential of their workforces? What beliefs do managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs need to discard–and what new beliefs do they need to embrace? How has the purchase cycle changed, and what are the expectations of today’s buyers? How can small companies use new ideas to compete more effectively against larger competitors?
Find the answers to these questions and many others here in 19 of the most noteworthy guides to leadership, motivation, business strategy, and branding of the past year.
7 Ways Management Can Boost Employee Productivity by westXdesign
Renee Gaylor explains seven steps leaders can take to increase employee engagement and productivity, such as ensuring “senior leadership models behavior that makes the rank-and-file proud to be part of the team. Nothing demoralizes employees more quickly than seeing senior leaders act in a way they don’t respect, and few things energize employees more than a senior team they admire. Leaders are always being watched and judged; employees have keen eyes.”
Paid to Post? What the Social Workforce Means for All of Us by iMedia Connection
Writing that “Savvy brands like Dell, Oracle, Intel and Accenture think the future of marketing is on social media and their best advocates are their own employees,” Greg Shove demonstrates why this strategy can be incredibly powerful, but also discusses the challenges involved. In the end, he concludes that to be successful in developing social employees, companies will need to “focus on producing cultures that employees want to advocate for. In terms of long-term sales growth, marketing success and talent retention, that will matter far more than the fine details of each advocacy program.”
What Does it Take to Lead a Social Business? by NewRayCom
Ray Hiltz identifies five characteristics required of R.A.R.E. (responsible, accountable, relevant, ethical) leadership, and notes “these are also the traits of a successful social business.” Leadership and social business are both grounded in developing relationships, and doing so effectively requires a long-term vision at odds with ever-shortening attention spans.
Motivation and Inspiration Guides
9 Mind Myths to Ditch for 2014 Success by Rebel Brown
The wise and delightful Rebel Brown steps “into the truth and beyond our limiting beliefs” here, debunking nine myths about our minds which she says limit our potential. Among the myths skewered are “we’re all limited by this crazy economy,” “failure is to be avoided at all costs,” and “change is hard” (“Humans are instinctively wired to avoid anything that is new and different. Our unconscious mind views it as a threat…[however] We can act to consciously remove that threat of change [by focusing] on the opportunity in the change, not the problem that caused it”).
How to Give Remarkable Presentations: Lessons from the World Domination Summit by Dr. Michelle Mazur
Michelle Mazur shares lessons learned from speakers at the World Domination Summit (yes, apparently, that is a thing), including “Train to speak like an athlete trains to win the race” from Danielle LaPorte, on the importance of speaking frequently, and contrasting the gap between what is and what could be, from Nancy Duarte: “The best speakers – Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs and Eva Peron – construct a gap between what is currently and what could be in the future. Think of Steve Jobs comparing the world without an iPhone versus a world with the iPhone (can you remember the world before Smart Phones?).”
Jeff Haden reveals nine characteristics that help define and create success, from approaches to time management and hiring to how to deal with failure and “go the extra mile.” A great reminder for consultants: “Only do what you want to do and you might build an okay business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business. Be willing to do even more and you can build a remarkable business.”
Following up on the post above, Jeff Haden here turns the topic from the beliefs of successful people to their actions; things that most if not all successful people do, such as setting audacious goals, selling, and avoiding the crowds: “Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.”
Business Strategy Guides
Small Talk, Big Results by strategy+business
Keith Ferrazzi introduces ideas from The Necessity of Strangers by Alan Gregerman, demonstrating how vital “small talk” is: “anthropologically, we are hardwired to be ready to fight or flee from someone not of our tribe—a state of mind that obviously has a very negative effect on our ability to innovate together. Small talk quiets that reptilian response of our brain.” The book excerpt details a simple exercise that can be used within organizations to increase success by creating a “culture of conversation.”
How Women Decide by Harvard Business Review
Pointing out that “Today women occupy about half of all managerial and professional positions in the United States, including 37% of management jobs and 60% of accounting and auditing roles…They also make up 41% of employees with authority to make purchasing decisions,” Cathy Benko and Bill Pelster present research on how the differing physical structures of the male and female brains lead to different decision-making styles, and how these distinctions need to be accounted for when selling or presenting ideas.
5 reasons I hate big data by iMedia Connection
Chris Marriott brilliantly skewers the hype behind big data (and advises executives what to focus on instead), writing that it’s an old idea with a new name; that it makes something easy sound complex; and that it’s “like teenagers and sex:
a. Everybody’s talking about it.
b. Everybody thinks everyone else is doing it.
c. Most of those who claim to be doing it aren’t doing it.
d. Those who are doing it aren’t doing it very well.”
8 Real-World Stories Of Why Startups Fail by ReadWrite
Scott Gerber shares the stories of eight “(now) successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share why a prior start-up didn’t make it – and what they’re doing differently knowing what they know now.” Among the lessons: manage cash flow (“Numbers are not only the oxygen of a business, they are the vital signs as well”), match your timing to the state of the market, and be careful about choosing employees (“hire people who are sincere and trustworthy”).
Marketing and Brand Strategy Guides
Fire the funnel — 5 stages of the real buyer’s journey by Chief Marketing Technologist Blog
Contending that “The funnel model of marketing and sales doesn’t reflect reality very well” (and we know this), Scott Brinker suggests an alternative five-stage model that is less exclusionary and more positive, recognizes that today’s “lost” prospects may become tomorrow’s new opportunities, and acknowledges the importance of continuing to market and sell to existing customers and convert them into brand advocates.
Jeff Pundyk rants (intelligently) about how, far too often, “thought leadership” is anything but; rather, it’s ego-building, internally focused, disorganized, and doesn’t address reader or market needs. Instead, he advises marketers to “find creative ways to tap into publishers’ audiences…venture beyond the walls of your own Web site. It will force you to up your content game: to think hard about your audience…(and) to start listening and collaborating.”
J-P DeClerck makes the case that marketers should shift their focus from channels, tactics, and campaigns, to addressing what customers really want: “we shouldn’t optimize for media, channels or tactics in the first place. We optimize for the customer experience.” Customers don’t care how a company organizes its campaigns or silos; they care about consistency and the company meeting its brand promise.
How Underdogs Can Market Effectively by MarketingProfs (free registration required)
Abhay Padgaonkar outlines three strategies small companies can use to win against larger competitors, starting with aiming “for your competitor’s Achille’s heel.” That can come in the form of scope (starting out by serving a neglected segment, which is how Southwest Airlines got its initial foothold in the market); service; or scale (targeting segments that don’t fit with investments larger competitors have made).
Big marketing opportunities for under $10K by iMedia Connection
Greg Kihlström details four “ways to connect your audience with your brand” that won’t break the bank, such as creating new content, experimenting with new channels, or giving something back: “Help an organization in need. There’s no downside to this one…(for example) let your customers choose which organization they’d like you to donate the money to by allowing them to vote for their favorite nonprofit every time they submit a photo that includes your product.”
Katie Burke outlines half-a-dozen expert “tactics and strategies you can employ within a workday to help attract, convert, engage, and delight more prospects, leads, and customers.” For example, on video marketing, from Kevin Daum: ““You don’t need cats and babies to make business videos that work…By aligning on a goal, a target audience, and a core story, your business can benefit significantly from using video to foster growth.”
The end of digital and social media by iMedia Connection
Terms like “digital media” and “social media” will soon be redundant, according to the brilliant Rebecca Lieb, as all media are increasingly both digital and social. So, Rebecca asks, “How do you cut through the clutter of media, messaging, and a ridiculously busy social life spanning all channels, digital and otherwise? There are six traits that matter. Employing as many as possible — in concert — will greatly enhance a brand’s ability to be noticed in a relevant and meaningful way.”
The Seven Pitfalls of a Modern-Day Brand by MarketingProfs
Despite the unprecedented reach that social media provides, “Brand Awareness is hard to come by,” writes Matthew Turner. He identifies seven pitfalls of brand-building (such as lack of voice, too much “sell,” and being easy to forget) and how to avoid them: build a “brand story that delves deep into your brand and discovers what it’s all about…A brand story allows you to create something of worth, and most important, something that matters to you: It’s built on your terms.”
Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.
Content marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.
Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”
Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?
Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.
Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics
5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed
Helpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”
Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute
Patricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.
Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel
Noting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.
Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog
Though the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”
Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today
Steven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).
Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations
Rebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”
5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog
Jon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source. What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”
Noting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.
What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.
Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail
Christina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.
Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association
Sherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”), Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).
Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:
- • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
- • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
- • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.
J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.
Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.
4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection
Writing that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.
Because not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Marty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.
Content Marketing and SEO
10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.
How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs
This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.
Noting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.
Infographics, Images and Video
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”
Infographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.
The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.
Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa
Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”
The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.
7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends
Lisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”
Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS
Michael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.
How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club
Mireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.
The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”
Expert Copywriting Tips
Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”
Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company
Former McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.
25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS
Heather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.
Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).
Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute
Roger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”
Few phenomena have ever spread as far and grown as rapidly as social media; obviously, this has tapped into something essential to our nature. What is it? The answer may come from the email marketing field. According to a recent study by email service provider Aweber, four simple words virtually guaranteed to get an email opened are: “You are not alone.”
That is what has driven social media adoption. From freedom seekers living under oppressive regimes connecting with each other and with people around the world who support them, to individuals with uncommon viewpoints or highly specialized professional interests connected with the like-minded anywhere on the globe, social media is about not being alone. It’s a way to find and form relationships with others who share our particular interests and passions, whether down the street or on other continents; interesting people with whom there has been no practical way to engage before.
Talking recently with Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess)—partner and CMO at Blue Focus Marketing, a B2B social branding consultancy firm in Bridgewater, New Jersey; 2011 & 2010 winner of the Twitter Shorty Awards in Marketing; and author of the Blue Focus Marketing Blog—we were both struck by how many of the same people we know through social media (and we both learned about some interesting new people to follow as well). Many of these were other B2B marketers, but others were social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities.
Cheryl and I thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on this special social media project—and so the process began for creating the 2011 #Nifty50 List of Top Twitter Women. We decided to recognize and share the names of some of these noteworthy individuals with our respective readers and followers, starting today with 50 remarkable women (just in time for Mother’s Day, as we’re pretty certain that every woman on this list either is a mom, has a mom, knows someone who’s a mom, or some combination thereof).
One source of inspiration was Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women by Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting) and Amy D. Howell (@HowellMarketing), a list on which Cheryl was honored. Though it’s a remarkable list, to keep ours distinct we haven’t duplicated any of Diana and Amy’s picks.
Next month, we are following up with our list of 50 men, just in time for Father’s Day. This list will be posted on Cheryl Burgess’ Blue Focus Marketing Blog. Whatever your role in social media, we hope you find this list valuable in expanding your knowledge and your network.
Jennifer is the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School or Business, and author of The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.
Diana is a USC grad now based in Atlanta. She heads up Adams Consulting Group, a technical services firm specializing in Apple Macintosh desktops, servers and laptops. Diana writes for BitRebels.com and InkRebels.com, and as noted above, her post on Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women was one source of inspiration for this #Nifty50 list. She’s smart, personable, sometimes controversial and never dull.
Hailing from San Antonio, Alicia is founder and CEO of Sanera, a professional development and training firm for sales and business leaders. She describes herself as a “small business coach, speaker, corporate trainer, blogger, singer, lover of life, dreams, family and God.” Alicia is a warm and outgoing social media pro and creator of March Marketing Madness.
Allison lives in the New York City area and works with the Marketing team at Google to explore the changing face of media, mobile and consumer behavior, drive new thinking internally, and communicate Google’s visionary concepts to wider audiences.
Ambal is co-founder of ClickDocuments, based in Silicon Valley. She’s an entrepreneur, marketer, blogger, and alum of Wharton and Purdue. Her Connect the Docs blog—frequently featured on the B2B Marketing Zone—is a platform for her own thought leadership content as well as frequently solicited insights from other B2B bloggers.
Director of Sales for @klout. Though fairly new to Twitter, Amber is active and highly engaging, and her following is likely to grow quickly. A USC grad, Amber’s past includes stints at Hulu, Yahoo!, and the E! Entertainment Network.
Amy serves as social media editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as well as the Features/Travel editor for the newspaper. She’s an informative and prolific Twitterer, and active in Twin Cities social media.
A B2B marketer, strategist, writer and Author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. Friend, mentor, and source of inspiration. Also an expatriate Minnesotan now living in southern California (we miss her, but can’t blame her).
Interactive Minnesotan skilled in web strategy, conversion rate optimization (CRO), e-commerce, SEO, social media, QR codes (she knows a lot about QR codes), design, UX, analytics and inbound marketing. Angie is also a Search Engine Watch columnist and speaks at national events including SMX, SES, and OMS.
Expert Community Manager with the Focus Expert Network, a network of thousands of leading business and technology experts who answer questions and post thought leadership content. Becky is also an MBA Candidate at San Francisco State University with a strong appetite for Social Media and Marketing.
Jenara is an Asia-based filmmaker, organic farmer, and freelance journalist for Fast Company magazine and CNNGo, as well as a Harvard and Berkeley grad. She’s interviewed the famous and not-so-famous from high fashion superstars to up-and-coming designers to UN leaders, literary giants, cashmere producers, and royal mistresses, and her work has also appeared in TIME, BlackBook Magazine, and NextBillion.
Brooklyn-based Maria calls herself an “interestingness curator and semi-secret geek obsessed with design, storytelling and TED.” She’s also the editor of Brain Pickings and writes regularly for Wired UK magazine, The Atlantic and Design Observer.
Connie is the Community Strategist for the Alterian (formerly Techrigy) SM2 social media monitoring platform. She’s been named by Forbes.com as one of 20 top Women Social Media & Marketing Bloggers. Connie recently migrated from the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota to much balmier climate of Minneapolis.
Diedre is the president of Mango! Marketing, author of PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR, an adjunct professor in the New York city area, and co-founder of #PRStudChat.
Deb is a journalist-turned-PR pro. She’s president of Strategic Objectives, an award-winning PR agency in Toronto. And she’s energetic and inspirational on Twitter.
Eileen has more than 14 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications. As @eileenobrien she moderates the #SocPharm tweetchat on Wednesdays at 8 pm EST which discusses pharma marketing and social media.
Oregon-based Ekaterina is a corporate social media strategist as well as a “speaker, connector (and) passionate marketer.” She’s also a frequent guest-poster who’s written bookmarkable pieces like 9 Ways to Sell Social Media to the Boss.
Ellen Hoenig Carlson
Based in New Jersey, Ellen is focused on simplifying consumer and healthcare marketing for “elegant solutions in a complex world.” Though she writes mainly on pharma-related subjects, her blog topics also include branding, family, fundraising, innovation, leadership, and Twitter.
Ellen writes for Fast Company magazine and helps run the 30 Second MBA site.
Connecticut-based Elise is active in social media, an enterprise technology sales and business development pro who is passionate about inside sales and sales strategy. She’s a fellow member of the #Lebronians team “drafted” by Robert Rose in FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy – Maybe It’s You.
CMO with Siegel + Gale, a brand strategy, customer experience and design consulting agency in New York.
CEO of Chicago PR agency Arment Dietrich, author of spinsucks.com, Vistage member, author, speaker, communicator and writer of amazingly entertaining and insightful rants like Get Rich Quick! Lose Weight Tomorrow!.
Based in New York City, Gretchen is the best-selling author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. On her blog, she shares her insights to help readers create their own happiness projects.
Heidi is a fascinating marketer who shares practical advice about marketing and life from New York, NY.
Minnesota social media rock star, Business Development Director at Pixel Farm Digital, founder of the annual Twin Cities Top 10 Titans in Social Media awards, talk show regular on myTalk 107.1, and never boring.
Karen heads Reciprocate LLC, a small business marketing consultancy in Minneapolis. She’s an expert in social media marketing (particularly LinkedIn optimization), a small business advocate, trainer, speaker and coach. She’s active in local community and business organizations as well as social media.
Katie reports on technology and pop-culture for one of the world’s greatest newspapers—the Wall Street Journal—and is the author of If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter’s Notebook.
Eve Mayer Orsburn
Eve is the author of Social Media for the CEO: The Why and ROI of Social Media for the CEO of Today and Tomorrow and CEO of Social Media Delivered, a firm that helps companies leverage LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook & blogs. And yes, she really knows LinkedIn.
Based in Chicago, Lisa is CEO of C-Level Strategies Inc, CEO Connection Co-Chair, Leadership & Executive Marketing Consultant, and #LeadershipChat co-Founder. Like Elise Segar and Cheryl Burgess, Lisa is a star of the #Lebronians team.
Liz is the founder of SOBCon, a brand strategist and leadership trainer based in Chicago. She’s also an insightful, prolific and generous social media presence.
Officially, an expert in inbound marketing, online visibility and personal branding, via social media, SEO and SEM. Also big on green business marketing. Unofficially – friendly, smart, and writer of many highly bookmarkable blog posts.
Lucretia M. Pruitt
Living in and tweeting from beautiful Denver, Lucretia refers to herself as a “random muse, speaker, ex-CIS Professor, social media devotee, geek, mom, wife, & insomniac.” Lucretia is a highly engaging and sophisticated observer of technology developments.
Digital PR Specialist for the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, Lisa describes herself as “a gal constantly awed by the intricacies of human behavior. Love my family, peeps, dogs, film, food and learning.”
Mari (like Ferrari) describes herself as a “passionate leader of social media, relationship marketing and Facebook mastery,” but most of us know her as the ultimate guru-ess of Facebook marketing and co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day. Formerly Canadian, now living in San Diego (nicer weather, but even worse taxes).
A phenomenally busy yet amazingly prolific blogger, Missy is a marketing pro at healthcare network Allina, co-founder of the Minnesota Blogger Conference, and is also active social media as the MarketingMama.
Idea generator, b2b marketing professional, creative director, process engineer and writer at MLT Creative in Atlanta, as well as a mother, friend, sister, daughter, diabetic, crocheter and jazz fan. She’s also really nice.
Sally is a scientist with Icarus Consultants in New Jersey, a pharmaceutical / biotechnology-focused marketing strategy firm. She blogs about marketing strategy, market research, science, oncology, hematology and immunology.
Working and tweeting from New York, Michelle is a creative director, brand strategist, and author of The BrandForward Blog. She spends her time exploring the future of advertising, social media, and emerging technologies and just being pretty cool.
A staff writer for the New York Times, Jennifer writes about the use of technology and social media in politics, government, and real life.
Susan Kang Nam
Splitting her time between New York, Andover (MA) and elsewhere, the dynamic Susan Kang Nam is founder of Cebisu Research Inc., a member of Andover’s Harvard Club, founder of Boston-based career club Salty Legs, “an entrepreneur, former recruiter and non-profit advocate who grew up in Asia (Korea, Japan) and US (Hawaii, California, New Jersey, NYC) and since 1994…using the world wide web exploring different platforms to engage in various of conversations”—and a classical pianist.
Prolific Twitterer, Bostonite, CEO and founder of the oneforty social business software hub, as well as co-author of Twitter For Dummies.
Rebel has been a marketing and business consulting for more than 20 years, is a popular speaker and author of Defy Gravity. She’s also a self-described “spiritual seeker, horse crazy, ski freak, and animal lovin’ nature gal.”
Based in Boston, Rebecca is a singing Inbound Marketer with all-in-one marketing software platform developer HubSpot. She’s also a founder of a cappella group Common Sound. And yes, she is a rock star.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Harvard Business School Professor, author of SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good – a look at how a new generation of values-driven businesses do well by doing good, and a living legend in the world of business strategy.
A social media communications manager for PR/social media monitoring provider Vocus in Washington DC, Stacey runs the popular monthly #prwebchat on Twitter. She is a former model, auxiliary member in the U.S. Air Force, and a self-proclaimed “SEO nerd” who loves NASCAR, steak and rock n’ roll. Definitely one of the most awesome and unique bios in social media.
CEO of Small Business Trends, an online small biz community reaching over 250,000 each month. Anita tweets from Cleveland, Ohio, the hometown of rock n’ roll.
Liana ‘Li’ Evans
Liana describes herself as “an online marketing geek girl who loves all things social media.” She’s a top expert in social media and SEO, and the author of Social Media Marketing.
Wendy is a blogger and digital marketer focused on the pharmaceutical industry. She’s an executive vice president at at Intouch Solutions, a marketing agency serving the pharmaceutical, animal health, medical device, and similarly regulated industries.
Based in Trumbull, CT, Wendy is an award-winning PR and marketing communications executive who helps B2B companies become well-known brands, and a truly engaging social media personality.
Watch next month (close to Father’s Day) for the Nifty 50 Men of Twitter for 2011.
Stumped for that last-minute Christmas idea? Books make great gifts, and there’s still time to order for pre-Christmas delivery.
Since you don’t want to take the chance of buying a sleeper however, or a book that’s inappropriate for the recipient, here are nine ideas—books reviewed on the Webbiquity blog this year.
Defy Gravity by Rebel Brown
In Defy Gravity: Propel Your Business to High-Velocity Growth, Rebel Brown shows business owners and executives how to shed the weight of legacy baggage, filter out the noise and focus on those opportunities which provide the best potential for profitable growth…
Social Media Marketing by Liana “Li” Evans
With Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media, the inimitable Liana “Li” Evans has provided the definitive handbook for social media marketers. From her no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point opening chapter on the basics of social media (“It’s Not Easy, Quick or Cheap”) through the final chapter on “Putting It All Together,” Evans tells anyone brave or foolhardy enough to venture into social media marketing what they need to know…
SNAP Selling by Jill Konrath
Don’t you love it when you pick up a book and realize in just the first few pages that the author really gets it? Even better, they don’t just get “it,” but offer a fresh and compelling approach to dealing with the specific problem, situation, condition of modern life, etc.? Well, SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers by Jill Konrath is that kind of book…
Social Media Marketing – An Hour a Day by Dave Evans
Despite its airy title, Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans is anything but a lightweight treatment of this topic. At roughly 340 pages of text plus another 42 pages of worksheets, this is a meaty book, but the end result of following Dave’s hour-a-day guide is a solidly justified, strategic social media marketing plan…
Maverick Marketing by Tom Hayes
In Maverick Marketing: Trailride into the Wild West of New Marketing, Tom Hayes invites readers on a gallop through the new west of innovative marketing campaigns, to help generate new ideas to stand out from the herd…
The Truth About Search Engine Optimization by Rebecca Lieb
Despite being a quick, almost breezy read (how often do you read that said about a book on SEO?), The Truth About Search Engine Optimization packs a tremendous amount of valuable knowledge into a compact barely-200-page space…
eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee
Without a solid content strategy to support movement through the marketing and sales cycle, marketing automation software is just a nice email system. The brilliant Ardath Albee provides the missing piece, a reliable recipe marketing automation, demand generation and content marketing success in her new book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale…
The Perfection of Marketing by James Connor
Despite it’s ambitious title, The Perfection of Marketing is a surprisingly accessible and fast-paced read. The book is written in case study fashion, taking the reader through a realistic scenario of a midsized company struggling to build on its past success and take sales to the next level…
Author Andrew King, president of Internet marketing firm Web Site Opimization, LLC has really done it. In Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets, he gives away all the secrets of creating a website and search marketing program that effectively sells products and services…
Need more ideas? Check out the Webbiquity bookstore.
In Defy Gravity: Propel Your Business to High-Velocity Growth, Rebel Brown shows business owners and executives how to shed the weight of legacy baggage, filter out the noise and focus on those opportunities which provide the best potential for profitable growth. This is a critical guidebook for any business faced with shrinking margins, flatlined revenue, or worse–that is in freefall and in need of a turnaround strategy for survival.
To illustrate her points throughout the book, Rebel metaphorically uses the language of flight—gravity, lift, thrust, waypoints, trim tabs—much as Tom Hayes employed terms from the old west in Maverick Marketing. In the book’s first section, “Sources of Gravity,” Rebel details how old practices and beliefs can weigh a company down, preventing it from reaching its potential altitude of profitability and speed of growth. Most of these will be familiar to anyone with a few years of business experience behind them: “it’s our biggest seller!” (even though it’s rapidly becoming yesterday’s technology), “They’re our biggest customer” (highest revenue doesn’t always equate to most profitable), “but the other guys have it” (the fallacy of chasing the competition) and more.
On one particularly sensitive topic in this section—the drag that can be created by long-time employees clinging to the status quo rather than evolving with the company—is handled graciously. Loyal employees shouldn’t be discarded cavalierly with every change in the wind. Their knowledge and opinions matter; if they are resisting a change in direction, listen to make sure what they’re saying really is status quo baggage thinking, and not a prescient warning of hidden dangers in the new course of action. If it is truly resistance to needed change, give them a chance to get on board with the new flight plan. At that point, if they continue to be a source of drag, and worse, make an effort to persuade others to sabotage efforts at changing direction, it’s time to gracefully help them find a seat on another plane.
This a high-level strategy book written for leaders of any sized business. Though Rebel provide guidance on tactics to identify value and evaluate markets, she flies well above the tree tops throughout the book.
At its most basic level, her guidance is: identify your true sources of value—not the ones you think you have, but the ones your best customers (and potential customers) attribute to your company and offerings—and then focus all of your efforts on the most profitable (even if not always the largest in revenue terms) segments. That’s oversimplifying her message, but gets to the heart of it. As she summarizes at the end of chapter 12, “There are two primary sources of sustainable growth: true value and market opportunity. You can’t have one without the other and expect to reach full business velocity.”
She reminds us throughout the book, however, that as obvious as these recommendations may seem, they often fail in practice for a multitude of reasons. The most common is managing based on historical results—expecting the future to be a continuation of the past. Though this is not actually unusual in the business world, Rebel equates it to a pilot trying to fly a plane by looking at what’s behind him to show how absurd this is; no one would want to be on that flight. We want a pilot whose eyes are on the horizon in front of us; businesses run best when managed the same way, looking forward at changing market conditions and needs.
Among Rebel’s insights:
- • “Market leaders recognize that their best seller isn’t a specific product or approach. They identify their sustainable value as customer benefit, not a specific product.” Take Apple as an example; though the company has lots of outstanding products, it’s core value isn’t a single product but rather cool technology that works reliably.
- • Every organization has three distinct types of value that it is critical to identify properly: company value (i.e., “the brand”), product value (why your customers buy your product or service) and market value (leadership, reputation, unique position). Company value is relatively unchanging, or at most slowly evolving, over time. Product value lasts only as long as product lifecycles.
- • “Don’t be surprised if the sales reps are selling to a subset of what you believe are current market opportunities. Reps sell where they win, to, wherever they are winning, that’s your current market focus. You’ll find that your best sales reps do not waste time on the target markets you choose for them…Where they focus is your current market opportunity, whether you want to believe it or not. Pay attention.”
- • While you need to understand the competition you’re up against, “don’t start doing deep competitive analysis. That’s not what you need. You need to know the market positions of established market leaders–if there are any…For all markets, understanding the competitive landscape is key to a decision about your strategic course and focus. Just don’t follow your competitors. Think for yourself!”
- • “One of the biggest mistakes we make in our growth strategies is to assume that we can create demand in the markets we select. That takes big money and lots of time. We’re better off focusing on a market that already has demand, capturing a ready-made opportunity instead of attempting to create a new market space.”
- • “Leaders, it’s really important that you let folks know that you want real-world estimates. Too many employees are trained to say they can do more than they can, in reality, to look good and to please their managers. Change this behavior if you want to succeed and grow.” The head of the agency I’m with refers to this as “setting proper expectations” and it’s critical for properly allocating budget and effort, and producing results everyone is pleased with.
The strategy section at the end of the book is bit reminiscent of the classic Boston Consulting Group matrix, though Rebels observations and recommendations are more nuanced and advanced. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to talk about airplanes, waypoints and flight decks than dogs and cows. She richly illustrates her points throughout with a variety of case studies from the B2B and consumer marketing realms.
If your business is growing more rapidly and profitably than you ever dreamed, you can afford to ignore this book (at least for now). But if it’s more like the other 98% of businesses—struggling to keep up with the pace of market change and maintain profitable growth—Rebel Brown’s Defy Gravity may very well provide your flight plan for resumed or continued growth and success.